August 29, 2015 at 9:42 am
The loss of revenue to government coffers as a result of gold-smuggling has been brought to the fore. It has been apparently accepted that this activity has been continuous and growing in volume over the decades. The statements and analyses
emanating from recent media reports and attributed to Mr. Sydney James, Head of SOCU, appear to focus on licensed gold traders and to the export of gold through established ports of exit. In the midst of this, there has only been a passing reference to the incident involving the discovery of in excess of US$11,000,000 worth of gold on board the nondescript fishing vessel the “Summer Bliss” in 2012. The boat, captain and crew were all of Guyanese origin. A crew member had referred to the fact that this was not the first trip to Curacao with a substantial amount of Gold as its cargo. Had it not been for the international attention brought about by the theft, we in Guyana would still be in blissful ignorance of this method of gold exportation. At the time of the incident, local investigations into the issue of whether the gold was smuggled out of Guyana, were substantially brought to an end by a Government statement suggesting that the gold had emanated from Suriname. This assertion was met with incredulity by several Guyanese, in light of available evidence tending to suggest that the “Summer Bliss” had left Guyana on a date suggesting a direct voyage to Curacao. With this in mind, perhaps this new Government should reopen the 2012 investigations and also focus on the possible smuggling of large amounts of gold via Port Demerara and other river and sea ports. Surely, there is greater risk of a greater amount of undeclared gold leaving Guyana by these means. The fact that media houses, GGMC and SOCU seem to be ignoring the smuggling through these busy ports, raise more questions than answers. This current Administration should be well warned to guard against selective information from entities with hidden agendas. As an aside, it is passing strange that the daughter of the former President is allowed to continue presiding over this vital industry, effectively, putting her in a position to filter and select what information is passed on to the present Government. Could there be mischief afoot?
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