Published On: Mon, Dec 3rd, 2012

Guyana asks Curacao for help in tracing origin of 470-pounds stolen gold

WILLEMSTAD - Guyana has asked Curacao for help in tracing the origin of US$11.5 million worth of raw gold that was stolen by gunmen from a Guyanese fishing vessel on the Dutch Caribbean island, Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud said Saturday.

“We basically want to know what the crew told them and as much information that we can get that can advise us here about whether or not the gold emanated from Guyana,” Persaud said.

The request for help has been dispatched through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The minister warned that anyone found culpable could face prosecution.

He was Saturday morning due to lead a ministerial team into talks with gold dealers and representatives of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) to discuss the incident that occurred Friday morning.

International news media reported Friday that the 470 pounds of raw gold divided into 70 bars were hauled off the MV Summer Bliss by six men. They were described as hooded, masked and wearing jackets with the English word “police” instead of the Papiamento language equivalent of “polis.”

Executive member of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Colin Sparman plans to tell the Natural Resources Minister that his association hardly believes that its any of its members who smuggled the gold aboard the vessel that left Georgetown four days ago.

“It’s not from our producers. Our membership is encouraged to sell to the Guyana Gold Board,” he said.

He suggested that it was a possible that a portion or all of the precious metal might have originated from another country aboard the vessel in transit Port Georgetown.  Suriname, a former Dutch colony with historical ties to Curacao, is also a major gold producer.

Guyana hopes that producers will this year declare 400,000 ounces of gold this year, up from 360,000 ounces last year.

President, Donald last month floated the idea of gold producing nations agreeing to a common regime of royalties and taxes to help choke cross-border gold smuggling from countries like his that currently has a higher rate of levies compared to Suriname.

Written by Denis Scott Chabrol 

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