Jawalla Village in Region Seven, Cuyuni-Mazaruni
In a January 30 ruling, High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon granted a permanent injunction against the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), James Kwaokowsky, and Timna Mining from mining and or permitting mining at lands at Jawalla, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
This is according to a statement from the law firm, Hughes, Fields, and Stoby on behalf of the Jawalla Village Council.
As such, the Judge awarded the Jawalla Village Council $10 million in damages for trespass to the village’s lands and another $10 million which is to be paid by the GGMC, James Kwakowsy, and Timna Mining, jointly, for breaches according to the provisions of the Amerindian Act.
Jawalla Village Council was also awarded $1 million in costs.
Jawalla is an Akawaio community on the Mazaruni River.
The judgement stemmed from mining permission granted by the GGMC to James Kwakowsky and Timna Mining to conduct mining activities in the Mazaruni River which passes through the Jawalla village lands.
Despite several requests from the Jawalla Village Council for the miners and GGMC to desist from mining or granting permission to mine within their village lands, the GGMC and the miner ignored the demands and continued to grant permission to mine within the village lands.
The Jawalla Village Council was represented by Jed Vasconcellos of the law firm, Hughes, Fields and Stoby, and the GGMC, James Kwaokowsky, and Timna Mining were represented by Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde.
In 2015, the Jawalla Village Council lost a similar lawsuit to stop Timna Mining from mining on village lands and to stop the GGMC from issuing mining permits to that company to operate along the rivers, they depend on, including the Mazaruni.
However, the now late Chief Justice (ag) Ian Chang and then Puisne Judge Rishi Persaud, now Justice of Appeal, had ruled that the village does not own, possess or control the river.
“It is clear that the Mazaruni River is not part and parcel of the village lands of Jawalla,” the two Judges had held. “It also appears that the Mazaruni River does not pass through the village lands of Jawalla or lands contiguous with the village lands of Jawalla,” they had said, adding that the Mazaruni River appears to “pass along” rather than “through” the village.