Since taking office in August 2020, the new Administration, quite rightly, took stock of several Ministries/Commissions notably the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure; The Demerara Harbour Bridge Asphalt Plant, and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC). The audit revealed mass irregularities and fraud involving former Government Ministers and senior officials; however, there was no mention of an audit of Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), a revenue collecting agency unable to pay staff in 2019/2020.
Over a decade ago, a prominent sawmilling enterprise was found in possession of exporting seals/stamps of GFC and GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority). That matter was swept through the “back door” to my knowledge without any investigation. The parliamentary opposition will not demand an audit of GFC, it will reveal their incompetence and skullduggery during their period 2015-2020.
Lately, the Honourable Minister of Natural Resources spoke of increasing the availability of State forest to local and foreign investors for exportation, and glossed GFC of issuing 300 sawmill licences annually over the past ten years. A check with GFC revealed that instructions were given to withhold information regarding the amount of operable sawmills; relevant information for the public should not be suppressed.
Is the Honourable Minister deceptive or purposely misled? I hope it’s neither. GFC must clarify the amount of operable sawmills. The Administration failing to enforce an audit of GFC will only influence the thought that Government and Opposition are in collusion of protecting their maladministration from exposure.
A forensic audit of GFC is needed.