The Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) for Rain Forest Conservation and Development has warned against conducting illegal activities in the protected Iwokrama Forest, and has reminded that persons in contravention will be prosecuted.
The ICC said it has noted with serious concerns the proliferation of illegal activities in the Iwokrama Forest including, but not limited to fishing, hunting, logging and mining. The ICC is, therefore, reminding the pubic and other stakeholders that these activities are not allowed in the Iwokrama Forest unless the Centre gives express written permission for any of the activities to be undertaken.
The ICC specifically notes that Section 6 (1) of the clause titled “Control of the Program Site” of the Iwokrama Act states: “Subject to Section 6 (1), and not withstanding anything in any other written law—(a) no mining, forestry or other resources utilisation activity shall be carried out on the Programme Site by any person other than the Centre, except with the prior written permission of the Centre; and (b) no lease of land or permission to use in the Programme Site shall be issued by any person other than the Centre, and all activities on the Programme Site shall be in accordance with regulations prescribed therefore under this Act.”
Section 3 goes on to prescribe the penalties for defaulters. It states, “Any person who contravenes the provisions of Subsection (2) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $100,000 or to imprisonment for a period of one year, and where the offence is of a continuing nature, to a further fine not exceeding $25,000 for each day during which the offence continues after conviction.”
In fact, the IIC wishes to remind that it has already imposed penalties on one errant tourism operator who was caught illegally logging in the Iwokrama Forest and a gold miner who was arrested and is not being placed before the courts.
According to the IIC, “Iwokrama has spent enough time and resources on education and awareness in regard to these illegal activities in the Iwokrama Forest and has now adopted a zero tolerance approach to these activities, especially gold mining and logging operations.”
It, nevertheless, notes that the Centre’s monitoring team together with the Guyana Police Service, the Guyana Forestry Commission, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency will continue to undertake regular monitoring and enforcement activities with the environs of the forest and the Centre will also be rigidly enforcing the prescribed penalties under the Iwokrama Act, and other laws of Guyana to any person found illegally operating in the Iwokrama Forest.
“Iwokrama believes in the development of the hinterland region of Guyana which provides livelihood for many Guyanese but at the same time all activities must be done within the confines of the laws of Guyana.”
The IIC is an international not-for-profit organization, governed by an International Board of Trustees and managed by a professional team of around seventy permanent staff in Georgetown and at the Iwokrama River Lodge and Research Centre at Kurupukari. The IIC’s Patron is His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales.The Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) was established in 1996 under a joint mandate from the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat to manage the Iwokrama forest, a unique reserve of 371,000 hectares of rainforest, “in a manner that will lead to lasting ecological, economic and social benefits to the people of Guyana and to the world in general”.
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