Analysis of small-scale miners' protests in Guyana
Today's Stabroek News has a follow-up article on gold and diamond miners' grievances with Guyana's Government, which recently led to protests in the town of Bartica. The miners were protesting new regulatory measures facing the sector, which they believe are linked to the Government's Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and its recent agreement with Norway on REDD. The article provides further details of the new regulations, including cash deposit and capital equipment requirements , facing the sector. Many of the miners believe that the new regulations are designed in part to encourage consolidation within the sector among larger scale operators, which would ease the job of monitoring environmental performance within the sector.
As the Guyana example makes clear, there is no question that the implementation of a serious package of 'pro-REDD policies' will be a controversial process in any country. Shifting the terms of natural resource use is bound to feed controversy among those who feel, often rightfully so, that the changing rules are working against them. The issue of compensation, which is apparently already being raised in the Guyana case, is likely to come up again and again as those losing out from policy shifts seek to tap into REDD funding. It will be up to Governments to determine which claims are justified and which are not.