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By Leonard GildarieLast week’s introductory article on the vital gold sector, with its phenomenal rise within the lastThe roads in the trails leading to the gold camps can become treacherous.few years and subsequent swift descent starting last year, has expectedly sparked lots of interest.I received quite a few photographs and calls, especially from miners.The industry is so huge, and affects so many lives, that it is hard for someone who is not even familiar with its workings to be unconcerned.I am no economist. But based on the many complaints and from the exchanges between the regulatory bodies and miners, it is safe to conclude that there is cause for great concern.And the more I find out, the more I worry. I have long discovered that every single action has a multiplying ripple effect. I recently heard an analogy of how just carelessly throwing a little piece of paper in the city eventually affects life elsewhere. Imagine a scenario where garbage is thrown in the waterways and after a few hours of rainfall, there is flooding. Household items may be lost. Government will have to find resources to fix the problem. The equipment, of course, comes from overseas. The affected families may have to ask families abroad for financial help to replace items. That is a simple setting.The gold industry, I believe, was thought of by many as a passing phase. There is money to be made, and many families benefitted from their loved ones in the bush. How about the operators?I recently visited a camp where I spoke to a cook. A young Amerindian man, about 20, he was recruited right from his home in the reservation, located up the Demerara River. It was the first time in theIn some place like Ekereku, Region Seven, the best way in and out is by plane.bush for him. He has been there for three months now. But that is one operation which, because of its very scale,Wholesale Authentic NFL Jerseys, has managed to survive.As promised last week, we will be examining various angles of the industry. The fallout is being felt from the low gold prices.Rocky is sitting in his little porch on the floor cutting up catahar. He is a trucker who bought a second hand bush truck for $2M. He depends on mainly small scale miners for orders to take in supplies.He had to spend another $2M to buy and install a winch. Being without a winch in the treacherous trails to the mining camps is unthinkable. It helps when the truck is stuck in the holes and has to be taken out. The winch is hooked up to nearby trees and it is powered to pull the trucks forward. Most pickups using the trails are also equipped with the winches.Rocky’s yard is scattered with fuel tanks. For over seven years now, he has been hustling,Jerseys NFL Wholesale, transporting fuel, parts, ration and other items to mining camps in Cuyuni, Region Seven; Konawaruk in Region Eight and to Amatuk, near Kaieteur Falls.He picks up fuel from the gas station at Providence and food supplies from Najab Trading, Balram’s and Jairam in the La Penitence area. His job is to pick up and deliver.Before buying his truck, as a young teen, he had been working with other operators. He has learnt to conduct repairs on his truck. Things like adjusting his brakes, changing oil and servicing his gears and power box have all become routine. When he is out from the trails, it is what he does. On many days,In many parts of the interior, it is impossible for vehicles to run. The ATVs are the best bet, even to transport fuel.with his truck jacked up, he is seated under it, fixing and servicing.This year has been the hardest for him. The gold miner he works for owes him money. Another friend he did one job for recently is demanding that he pays for hundreds of thousands of dollars in diesel that he spilt after his truck overturned. It is a risky business now.“I am thinking of selling the truck now and working with someone. I told my wife it would be easier. This has been the hardest year yet.”Rocky has not worked for over two weeks now. With Christmas fast approaching, quite a number of operations have closed, with workers being sent off. The gold is not coming like before. Operations are shifting to other areas like Cuyuni. He definitely will not be getting any bonus.To compound the woes of truckers like Rocky, the sale of bush trucks has increased dramatically. Like minibuses, many locals believe that quick money is to be made. Trucks can fetch prices up to $12M,Cheap Jerseys Online, depending on the number of axles. Many entrepreneurs find that the drop in operations from a reduction in the gold bush means little work for them. Trucks are being repossessed within months because of non-payments.It is believed that hundreds of bush trucks owned by individuals are working the trails, taking supplies.A few gold miners who have done well have been buying their own trucks. It means less work also for struggling operators like Rocky.The drive through the trails is grueling. From the city to Linden, considered the gateway to the interior,Deion Sanders Falcons Jersey, it is about 60 miles. It takes up to two days, sometimes, to reach the camps. Breakdowns happen all the time. Rocky is forced to,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, for safety’s sake,Cheap NFL Jerseys co, employ a helper. Leaving a truck filled with fuel is like leaving a bag of money in full view of passersby.Rocky has to make-do with the crossings. For his truck, the crossing at Sherima Landing, operatedIt is usual for vehicles to break down along the tricky trails. Rain, mud, deep holes are Mekdeci, is $32,Wholesale Jerseys,000 return. The last time he had to pay out of his own pocket, as his customer had not cash. He is still to be reimbursed. For the double-axle trucks, the crossing can reach up to $45,000. Pickups are $9,000. In the nights, the crossings are closed, as the pontoons cease operations at 6pm.Rocky is burning up to $100,000 in fuel,Jerseys NFL China, depending on where he is going. After repairs, on a good trip, Rocky is left with a mere $25,000. But even that relatively small amount has become elusive now.In addition to the trails, Rocky complains about police and the even harassment from the Guyana Energy Agency officials.“We would come out from a gas station and they checking us. I know it is their job. But the harassing is not my problem. It is the people ordering. It is their responsibility.”Coming out from the trails back to the city is also a problem. The trails are, as I hinted earlier, not that easy. In many cases trucks are covered with water. A tail-light may get blown.“The police along the highway and Linden would stop us for hours, even a day, for a simple ticket. It is frustrating.”With one food over $2,000, Rocky takes a little Chinese-made stove in with him and cooks. In the night, he rubs diesel on his body to keep the mosquitoes away. Malaria has attacked him several times.Three weeks ago, his truck overturned after he hired a driver to take some diesel in to a camp along Issano. An excavator operator charged him $200,Jerseys NFL Wholesale,000 to put the truck back on its wheels. He has to repay his customer for the fuel also. That single incident has halted operations for the miner he was taking in the fuel for, for days.Another major problem for Rocky is the poor roads. The trail is maintained by Mekdeci and others. However, the rainy season has been hard. “They need to do more. It is terrible what is happening. We paying millions to fix the roads, but nobody seems to be checking. We are the ones paying, because it means more monies have to be spent to repair our vehicles.”One tyre for the truck costs almost $140,000. If Rocky gets lucky, it can last for six months.Rocky worked with the Chinese who are doing mining in Amatuk, near Kaieteur Falls, and in Unamco, Upper Berbice. However, the Chinese have now brought in their trucks, leaving Rocky with one less customer.Recently, he received a demand from the Guyana Revenue Authority for outstanding taxes.“I don’t know what to do now. I own the truck. But there is no money. We barely make enough to eat.”Rocky’s wife has started a little home business, and it is helping to pay some bills.The story of Rocky is like so many others. With a significant number of operations closed for the holidays and workers sent home, the times have become tougher. Rocky is one who is seeing the writing on the wall. But still, the lure of the bush and the gold has become an addiction for some. Never mind the risks. But it is all becoming too rough for truckers like Rocky to survive.Last week readers sent in some really good photos. Please continue to do so to [email protected] Your comments are welcomed too weekdays at 225-8491.
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