Guatemala: Open Letter to CEO of Skye Resources

Ian Austin, President and CEO Skye Resources

Suite 1203-700 West Pender Street

Vancouver, BC Canada, V6C 1G8 

February 6, 2007

Dear Mr. Austin,  

One month ago today, I was present along with other members of the international media during a series of evictions that took place in lands allegedly belonging to CGN/Skye resources in Izabal and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Since that time, a series of even more violent evictions has taken place, this time away from the eyes of the international community.  

Having witnessed two days of evictions, on January 8th and 9th, 2007, I would here like to clarify two important points that I can only assume have not been properly communicated to you by your colleagues in Guatemala. The first point arises in your response to the email campaign about the evictions, dated January 17th, 2007, where you state that “the police were unarmed.”  

With all due respect, Mr. Austin, that is not true. Many members of the police were armed with guns or/and automatic weapons, all of them appeared to be carrying batons and tear gas, and some were carrying riot shields. More troubling still, and in direct contradiction of the 1996 Peace Accords in Guatemala, heavily armed members of the Guatemalan army participated in the evictions that took place on the 9th of January.

Please see attached photos shot by photographer James Rodriguez at the evictions on January 9th, 2007.  

The second point requiring clarification is your January 17th contention that with regards to the houses burned on the 9th of January “we don’t know who started the fires, we do know it was not anyone who works for CGN or contracted by CGN.” Again, Mr. Austin, that is simply not true.  

CGN/Skye Resources employees were instructed by CGN/Skye Resources lawyers to burn the structures in Barrio Revolución on the 9th of January. The District Attorney responsible for reading the eviction notice, Mr. Rafael Andrade Escobar, denounced these acts of arson very clearly as acts carried out by employees of CGN/Skye Resources.  

Should you wish to see further evidence that the police and army were heavily armed, or hear audio recordings confirming that CGN-Skye Resources employees burned the houses, please do not hesitate to contact me.

It is extremely worrying that you do not seem to have reliable information about the situation on the ground in El Estor, not only because it betrays the horrific reality of these evictions, but also because it most certainly affects your ability to give accurate disclosure of the activities of CGN/Skye Resources to your shareholders.  


Dawn Paley

Independent Journalist

Vancouver, BC