GFC’s hurried allocation of State forest will be a national environmental disaster

Dear Editor,
It was widely reported in the print and online media as well as on GFC’s website that the GFC Board is planning to allocate or reallocate a significant tract of State forest previously held by Baishanlin and Barama.
This is a significant development. Allocation of such large scale State forest presumably over one million acres a mere 40+ days before national elections looks premature and ill-advised if not foggy. Something does not augur and smell right about this transaction. Why wait until the last days, when these lands as reported was repossessed some time ago.
Contrary to the GFC Board’s belief, the State forest is a national patrimony and belongs to all Guyanese and not to one group of stakeholder. In this day of climate change and the sensitivity of the environment to natural disaster, this seemingly hurried and reckless decision will have dire consequences on our environment. What has suddenly happened to the Green State Development Strategy and the Agreement with Norway? The President has been on record to state that he was committing two millions acres of forest to Protected Areas or Conservation back in 2015. Has this promise ever materialized? Why now instead of putting the forest to protection, the recently appointed Commissioner has decided to give large scale allocation for log production. Export of logs will no doubt skyrocket.
I am calling on all environmental groups, Norway, the EU, civil society and all local and international partners who have an interest in the protection of the global environment to please do your bit to stop the GFC/Board/Government to put on hold any large scale issuance of State forest. The recent forest and bush fires in Australia, Bolivia and California should serve as living examples of how vulnerable the environment is to natural disasters and thus, forest protection is a must, not an option.