Guyana’s Forest is no doubt under serious threat of massive exploitation due to reported poor and compromising monitoring. Over the last few weeks, a number of stakeholders have voice their concerns (KN dated KN dated Sept 11th, 17th and Oct 4th and Oct 18th 2019) over the systematic and organise breach of the GFC monitoring system and the similar organise failure and/or collusion of the Board, Ministry and Commission to take corrective action.
Lo’ and behold over the last weekend, the volcano has erupted again. IWOKRAMA the iconic global pride of Guyana’s Green Environment has voiced concerns over illegal forestry and other activities within its boundaries. No doubt the poor efforts of the State (GFC) overall national monitoring system have led to this catastrophic cry from Iwokrama. If the national monitoring system was effective, this occurrence was never possible. Historic records are always the proof to look at the future. Iwokrama has been in existence since 1990 and was a creature of this very Government President Hoyte to be precise.
I am sure President Hoyte, one of Guyana’s best and most esteem President, would have been appalled by the chaotic and calculated collusion nature of the monitoring system of the GFC. Is this the way to honour our past leaders?
I am told however there are a few big weights in Iwokrama with close connections to the Government so why the cry now?
The situation within the GFC monitoring unit is a ticking time bomb and the intentionally sweeping the matter under the rug by those entrusted to look at the stewardship (Board, Ministry and Commission) should be condemned in the strongest manner. International partners such as the EU and Norway should take a straight look at this.
The second most disturbing issue facing the sector was the plea of assistance from the residents of Ituni. Again because of the favouritism practice employed by the GFC monitoring division whereby a few who are willing to work under the table get the benefit and the greater majority of persons in the community are pushed off the lands or given very few tags to work with. I am told that the GFC officer allegedly needs $20,000.00 for a permit and $5,000.00 for one tag.
Therefore, the big fish pays and the small man quota is reduced to fuel the uncanny operation. I am glad the people of Ituni are speaking up.
In yet another trail of events, there is information that massive collusion and destruction is being done in Mahdia area near the old Omai area. Officers under the helm of the Head of Monitoring are allegedly allowing illegal operators to cut and remove produce in exchange for them to cut and remove and transport a similar load for them i.e. they ask the illegal operator to cut one load for them (GFC Officer) and the officer in turn allows them to cut and pass another load for them.
This is said to be currently happening in the Mahdia area. Why are reports of these deliberate acts of intentional collusion and corruption going unchecked? After all the saying is that “Hand wash hand, make hand clean”.
C. de Barros
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