Russian Operatives Accused of Torturing, Pulling Gun on Miners in Guyana
July 27, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Richard Millington, Director of Communications
CGID calls for investigation of Russian operatives accused of torturing, pulling gun on local miners
The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) on Monday vigorously called on the Guyana government to investigate alleged torture, harassment, assault and abuse of Guyanese miners and workers by Russian nationals who own and operate West Bank Demerara Gold Inc – a Russian owned mining company in Guyana.
In a letter to President David Granger and the Ministers of Legal Affairs, National Security and Natural Resources, acting Police Commissioner, Mr. David Ramnarine, and Chairman of the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC), Mr. Stanley Ming, the Institute’s President Burke asserted that the Russians allegedly committed torture and other crimes against humanity as well as other human rights abuses of Guyanese citizens, which the government must not condone.
On April 3, 2018, ranger Ken Edwards and Charles Clarke, employees of Hopkinson Mining Logistics, were executing their normal duties on their employers claim, in Quartzstone, near the Quartzstone River, Region 7, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, when they were intercepted by two expatriate, Russian operatives of West Bank Demerara Gold Inc. The Russians attempted to prohibit the Hopkinson workers from entering further on said land.
West Bank Demerara Gold Inc. a company, which acquired and now operates a mining concession known as Chunnylall Babullal & Ricky Ramnarine (CB&R) Concession. Hopkinson Mining Logistics ostensibly has mining claims within the CB&R concession that predates its acquisition by West Bank Demerara Gold Inc.
The Hopkinson security guard recorded the incident with his cellular phone. The video, which was released by CGID, is attached. The video recording shows a Russian operative who is known in the concession area as “Batali,” demanding documentation and challenging Edwards and Charles’ right to be on their employer’s claim. He subsequently attempted to block their access. “Batali” then punched Edwards in his face. When Edwards attempted to defend himself, Batali punched him a second time, then pulled a gun on the men.
CGID has also obtained additional evidence of a separate incident in which the said Russians allegedly handcuffed another mining worker and tied him onto the roof of a structure and tortured him. The worker was reportedly forced to urinate and defecate while hanging from the roof. These are very serious allegations. CGID calls on the entire nation to join in condemnation of these despicable atrocities. If substantiated by the Police, these acts constitute crimes against humanity that carry harsh criminal penalties under national and international law.
“Batali” allegedly displayed a Guyana Police Force supernumerary constable precept; an instrument that licenses security guards to carry a firearm. In light of the alleged reckless actions of the Russian operative, CGID is gravely concerned about the issuance and maintenance of a Guyana Police Force precept for “Mr. Batali” to bear arms.
CGID therefore calls on the Police Commissioner to launch a criminal investigation into the actions of the Russians guards, who should be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be criminally culpable.
With the establishment of the petroleum industry and an expansion of the mining sector, both of which will attract foreign companies that can potentially mistreat or abuse Guyanese workers, CGID calls on the government of Guyana to establish a human rights commission, with powers of a court, to address and adjudicate human rights violations.