The ghost of corruption has once again returned to the Guyana Forestry Commission, specifically to the forest monitoring department. Persons are given permits to cut wood on state land and make it look as if it coming from their area. Some people are getting concessions without merit, while others without equipment etc are continually being denied. These crocks at forestry will make our government fail. This is a government that promised change and transparency.
I hope the GFC board under the acute leadership of the first female chair doesn’t turn a blind eye or condone such corruption happening under its nose. I know reputable and respectable gentlemen on the board — like Dr Singh, Mr Hall, Mr Mac, Mr Mendes — don’t stand for corruption, and thus I am baffle as to why nothing is being done about these blatant acts of corruption. For the readers’ benefit, I gave certain examples of what is happening:
Right now, in the North-West Kwebana area, forest officers, are giving a few individuals permission to cut and remove wood like purpleheart etc. from state lands.
No royalty is paid for the wood, which is sold; we are talking big money here. A bm of purpleheart is 300 dollars, and them guys cutting 4000 to 5000 bm a week. Remember, this is free wood, so all you make is for the pocket; so them guys giving the officer a $100,000 or so for one permit.
Please, can somebody go on the ground in the forest and see the amount of wood that is being cut illegally and shipped out? Or at least talk to the people in the area?
There are widespread illegal activities going on in Bartica. Again, talk to the people who get valid concession in the area, or to the Bartica group; you will get a shock as to what is happening in the Bartica area, and the forest officer is turning a blind eye to the happenings.
A particular exporter based in Kwakwani has been getting approval for a certain quantity of produce, and after the export document is approved, goes and loads more stuff in the container, thereby underpaying export duties to the GFC. The name of the exporter can be revealed if so desired. An old forestry officer that was fired for corruption is working to crook the system.
A racket seems to be going on in the concession management allocation department, whereby legitimate persons with good equipment and records are continually being denied, while others with little or no equipment are getting, and sometimes more than one.
The list can go on, and I will do a part two. But I do hope that this information is dealt with seriously by the Commissioner and the Board. Madam Chair, the sector has great respect and expectation of you to run a clean slate.
Please act now.