The gold and diamond mining industry, over the years, has contributed significantly to the sustenance of many families. However, it takes lots of hard labour, long hours and courage to keep pursuing some of the nature’s most precious minerals buried below.Deian’s GordonDeian Gordon is one of the few female miners in the sector. She is also an Executive Member of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO), and as such, she understands the struggle.Prior to taking up a career in gold mining, Gordon was engaged in street vending. She has initially visited the interior only to understand how minerals were extracted from the earth. That visit would evolve into her becoming involved in the mining business.As a woman in mining, she has found it to be very challenging and now she is a reservoir of good and bad experiences in the sector.In a male-dominated field, Gordon has managed to rack up some 22 years in the sector, but it takes strength and courage to keep persevering.“You have to be strong to work with the men – spirit, mind and body; you have to be able to stand up and demand that this is your job, you have workers, you have to respect, even though you is a female, they have to respect that they working with you,” she explained.Growing up with 11 brothers had taught her a great lot. On this note, she said being among the boys created the advantage she has working in a man’s field.As a woman in mining, she has learnt that one has to be calm, in the eventuality a situation arises. “Like when they get a dispute in the backdam, like in your camp, you have a dispute with another worker, if you can’t go and make a peace or try and get it down, it will lead to that (chopping up)”.She explained that there were times when large investments were made in the mining operation with very little return and then, there were times when the rewards were bountiful; however, a saying often quoted by miners, “Dutty battam dark” – meaning you invest but remain unsure of what returns would be generated although you remain hopeful – reflected the reality of the mining life.The GWMO, along with a brother, has assisted in coaching Gordon in the mining field. Through the Organisation, she has been able to attend many training programmes, especially in the area of sustainable practices.Working in the mining industry is totally different from most sectors, she explained, “…because for me, my work starts at 5, sometimes you does gotta get up from 2-3 (am) pumping water and so out of the pit. So, you close off at 6 (pm) and depends on how the sun goes, you could go up to 7 (pm)…so it ain’t get a factor really like a 7-4 work….”The GWMO executive said she was taught about the rules that govern the mining industry through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Women Miners Organisation, and as such, abide by those rules.She also engages in sustainable working practices. After mining is completed in an area, trees are often replanted by her workers.All dredge owners, Gordon encouraged, should always have another business to assist in the steady flow of income owing to the unpredictability of the mining sector.Additionally, being away from family is challenging. Gordon enjoys going to the movies and hanging out with friends, to “ease the brains” as she puts it.
The department’s 26 officers are being trained on the new system, and will fan out within two weeks to begin asking businesses to participate in the directory. Irwindale’s 1st Centennial Bank agreed to be a guinea pig and already has emergency contact information, pictures and a floor plan loaded onto the Web site. Benudiz demonstrated how clicking on the bank’s floor plan pulled up pictures of the room or area that had been selected so that officers could see details such as the location of teller windows, desks that they could use for cover, and the number of offices lining the walls. The aerial view of the building and surrounding streets will make it easy for one officer to tell others where to go to set up a perimeter, Benudiz said. Bill Schroeder, the regional vice president of the bank, said he was happy to participate, especially after the bank was robbed in July 2005. “It is nothing but a benefit for us because it helps us with our security here at the bank,” Shroeder said. The Police Department’s bulked-up directory showing them all the possible exits from the building and the hours that employees normally open and close the bank might have helped officers arrive faster and cover the exits, Shroeder mused. The department realizes that not all businesses will be so eager to join, and the program is voluntary, said Lt. Robert Barnes, who oversees the Community Oriented Policing program. Still, more information is better, he said. Such a complete overview of a building would be a terrific tool, said Sgt. William Cicchillo from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Bureau – the Sheriff’s SWAT team. The SWAT team always tries to get similar details about a building they need to go into, but must do so on a case-by-case basis, Cicchillo said. “I don’t know of anyone that has it, but it’s a talked-about topic in the police world – everybody talks about how, `Hey, this would be nice to have,”‘ Cicchillo said. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IRWINDALE – The Irwindale Police Department is in the middle of developing an unusual new tool – a database of businesses’ building layouts to guide officers in urgent situations. The secure, Web-based system will be available wirelessly in police cars so that officers can examine floor plans, aerial photos and interior photos to develop strategies during hostage situations, burglaries or natural disasters. The overgrown business directory is an offshoot of a larger Web site that the department has designed for its intranet system. The private site also features a most-wanted list, citywide crime statistics, officer schedules and police procedure manuals. All together, the site will bolster the department’s Community Oriented Policing efforts, said Police Chief Sol Benudiz. “The more we know about a location, the better we can respond tactically,” Benudiz said. “Information the officer would previously have had to ask dispatch for, he will now have at his fingertips.”