As a dedicated and humble logger from the Essequibo Coast, I write to express grave concerns about the rights of small loggers of our country.
On Wednesday 21st June, 2017, three officers from the Supenaam Forestry Station were involved in a raid on 41km Buckhall Road. During the ordeal, custody form #018177 was issued, reflecting 50 pcs or 2500bm purpleheart lumber. However, the officers failed to identify 1200 bm washiba lumber among the purpleheart. One month has elapsed with no feedback from the Supenaam Forest Station, despite numerous promises. I have visited the Supenaam Forest Station five (5) times, and made numerous phone calls during this period. I was always cooperative. Editor, I accept full responsibility for harvesting the lumber on AMS ESS 06/85 (a concession owned by A. Mazaharally and Sons). I have three children to maintain, and due to financial constraints, I was forced to harvest on AMS ESS 06/85.
On the 21st July, 2017, I once again called the Supenaam Forest Station, only to be told by the supervisor that he was instructed by the commissioner that the lumber had already been sold.
Here are some questions for the Commissioner of Forests
1. Why was a custody form (illegal harvesting #018177 issued for 2500bm purpleheart lumber found at 41km Buckhall Road for 1200bm washiba and 1800bm purpleheart lumber?
2. Why did you overrun this document? And what procedure did you use to hand responsibilities to Cummings Wood Products Ltd? Why was the producer not allowed to pay the penalty? And why was a public action not held?
3. Why is it that, despite visiting the Supenaam Forest Station on five (5) occasions and making numerous phone calls, I was not informed that the commissioner had different plans for the produce? How did Cummings Wood Products gain access to the lumber?
4. Why is it that the three officers (including the supervisor) involved in the custody cannot tell the difference between purpleheart and washiba hammer #331? What training are those officers receiving? Yet, upon visiting this forest station, officers are busy on their cell phones chatting, or frequenting the nearby shop.
5. Why was the producer not given the first option regarding the resale of the produce (Why was a custody form issued?)?
6. Why is a lumber yard located in Anna Regina fully operational although it is yet to uplift its licence from the Supenaam Forestry Station? Isn’t this document supposed to be on display? And doesn’t failure to display this document lead to closure of the facility?
7. Why are there double-standards regarding penalties for various offences?
8. Why was the washiba lumber (1200bm) transported to Buckhall Landing by an individual who is an ex-forestry officer and a well-known figure within the forestry sector for various negative reasons? Why was the 1800bm purpleheart not transported as well?
This trampling on the rights of citizens must be rejected in all forms. In the face of such travesty of justice, silence is not an option. Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana guarantees that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I call upon the commissioner to uphold the rules governing the forestry sector.
Each citizen should speak up, and not wait to become the next victim. Let’s stop this madness now. What message is this sending? We know what happened in the past, we must never allow this to happen again.