No need to conserve 2 million hectares of forest – Jagdeo

…says productive sector likely to suffer

The productive sector is likely to suffer tremendously now that the Government plans to conserve an additional two million hectares of forest lands, former President, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

With the recent signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Guyana Government pledged to put two million hectares of forest under conservation.

Government to conserve additional two million hectares of forest land
Government to conserve additional two million hectares of forest land

Recently, President David Granger explained that the allocation of more land to the protected area system would ensure that these natural resources are used sustainably and preserved for future generations, and was part and parcel of the plan to promote a green economy.
The President also stated that conservation would be used in tandem with the proliferation of eco-tourism in Guyana.
“These areas will be established in each of our 10 administrative regions to ensure that conservation is on a national scale and covers all of our ecological zones in scope. Ecological parks, nature reserves and sanctuaries for our endangered species will be established to protect our flora and fauna and our natural habitats and ecosystems. Guyana’s ecotourism competitiveness will be enhanced by the fact that we are part of Caribbean and also the continent. We share borders with three South American countries. We are placed strategically to tap into the large tourist markets of our sister states of the Caribbean and the continent,” the President said.
But Jagdeo has strongly criticised this move and berated the Government for not having a serious strategy aimed at achieving a green economy. He contended that those currently responsible for the natural resources sector appeared to be “incompetent about the dynamics of the sector, given the plans, or lack of, made to fight against climate change.”
Jagdeo explained that Guyana’s deforestation rate has remained one of the lowest in the world, around 0.065 per cent.
He said with a deforestation rate that low, there really was no need to convert more of the country’s forest which could otherwise be utilised in an environmentally friendly way to boost production and ultimately generate revenue for the country and its people.
“How are they going to get that done? It could mean they are going to take back lands from the people who have forest leases, from miners; and even if they don’t, that would be two million hectares more of our land that we can’t bring into productive use,” he explained.
Jagdeo contended that this commitment was silly also because even developed countries were not making these pledges.
He also criticised the commitment made to move Guyana to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
“So in nine years’ time, we’re supposed to believe that this country will use 100 per cent renewable energy. It is impossible to say that every vehicle, every power plant…will start using renewable energy,” the Opposition Leader asserted.
Jagdeo posited that with the rate at which the Government was going, Guyana’s reputation on the international scene with regard to its climate change efforts would soon be destroyed.