Georgetown, Guyana – (December 5, 2016) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, received the final Report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), which was established to probe the circumstances surrounding the mining pit collapse and death of Mr. Keon Wilson, at Rock Creek, Puruni, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) on October 8, 2016. The Report was handed over by Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best at the Minister’s office at Ministry of the Presidency.

Minister Harmon stated that the report, which was handed over today, will serve as a guideline and help to identify further steps the Government should take in to ensure that no further lives are lost in this fashion. “[The] Commission of Inquiry is intended to elevate the level of this [investigation] into these matters, so that the world would understand that we put a very high premium on the life of every single Guyanese… I trust that the recommendations that have been made in this report will act as a guide to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Ministry of Natural Resources, in so far as the safety mechanisms are concerned.” Min. Harmon

Additionally, Minister Harmon has said that though the Government has come under criticism for setting up several inquiries, it the only way facts and evidence can be gathered to ensure relevant action is taken. “These Commissions of Inquiry are not done for the sake of mounting Commissions of Inquiry. They become a call to action and, therefore, the recommendations will be carefully studied, in the first instance by the Ministry of the Presidency and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The report will be shared to the Cabinet, and the Cabinet will also have an input in the matter particularly as it relates to the executive summary and the recommendations that have been made by the Commissioner,” Minister Harmon said.

Rear Admiral Best explained briefly that three levels of culpability have been identified, “I found that they are three levels of culpability; at the personal level, the operational level and the regulator level. The report asked for me to determine, blameworthiness so I had to look into that carefully,” he said.

The Commission was established on October 18, 2016. A preliminary report was submitted to Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman on November 9, 2016 and the deadline for submission of the final report was extended from November 18, 2016 to today’s date.

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