Jan 18, 2014 News
“One of the key resource bases of the New River area is its biodiversity resources; but the resource base of this area is not limited to just biodiversity but also to forest carbon sequestration services, potential eco-tourism activities, research and technical studies, bioprospecting and minerals and timber.”
This is according to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, in response to an assertion by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
At the coalition’s most recent press briefing, the APNU parliamentarian called the disputed New River Triangle Area, the “last pristine untouched area of the Guyana forest.”
Persaud is contending that this is not accurate.
He said that national level assessments of forest cover, for not only the historic period but also covering current periods, conclude that the New River area is a pristine untouched area, like most areas in south of Guyana, but it’s not the only remaining pristine area of forest in Guyana.
According to the Minister, planning for a forest area with such characteristics, or more aptly called High Conservation Value Forest, requires adequate information, effective foresight and strategic coordination. He said that it was for these reasons it was identified as essential to effectively assess/survey the full resource base of this area.
Persaud maintains that it would be somewhat partial and incomplete to only recognize the need to assess the resource base as it relates to biodiversity, for the New River area.
The Minister with responsibility for the environment in responding to Dr Roopnaraine said that “all resources, including minerals must be included to know the true value and wealth of an area.”
He said that the results of such assessment along with other non-environmental related considerations, should determine how and to what use the area is put, as it would be premature to make a decision with incomplete information, or to make a decision with no information.
“This decision when effectively assessed and with adequate information, can mean that an area can be allocated for conservation, sustainable utilization, allocated as titled lands to Indigenous peoples, area management as community conservation areas, a national protected area, or a wide gamut of options.”
According to Persaud, “this kind of strategizing requires not just some information, but full information on the resource base… This has been and remains the thinking of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment as an activity that relates to not only the New River area but other areas, and there are others, that have high conservation value or as some may refer to, as pristine areas.”
The New River triangle area has been the talking point of a raging public debate ever since it was discovered that the Ministry had facilitated for permission to be granted to Muri Brasil Ventures Inc, to conduct a Geographical and Geophysical Survey of the area.
Among the contentions held was the fact that the company was all but guaranteed 18 prospecting licence to mine in the area.
Another had to do with the security implications.
Days after the Public Works Ministry denied the company permission to build an airstrip in the location to facilitate the survey, the comapny pulled out and blamed hostility against the project.
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