I have been following the news regarding the “reorganisation” of the Guyana Forestry Commission, and I am in utter shock at the current state into which this model organisation has descended under this current Government.
Now, rather than accepting that the current APNU/AFC Govt erred in taking away GFC finances from the REDD+ Fund and there is a general slump in construction and economic development, efforts are being made to facilitate corruption. This will be done through the wanton removal of technical and competent staff who are blocking the current AFC-led former GFC Commissioner from carrying out his acts of victimisation and impending corruption.
Editor, since a teenager, I have been involved in the forestry sector as a chainsaw operator, to provide for my mother and siblings; and have moved on to owning my own portable sawmill and gaining valuable contracts from construction companies; then on to owning my own sawmill and gaining export markets. It is a fact that the sector was at its lowest when this former commissioner was in charge of Forestry. It was a free-for-all for chainsaw operators, and only his closest business associates benefitted the most. Do we want to back-pedal to those days?
However, it was after his departure that the fortunes of the sector gradually changed, allowing for equal opportunities for all stakeholders operating under strict but workable regulations. During this period, many chainsaw operators got opportunities — as I did — to develop themselves and families, particularly in riverine communities.
I am knowledgeable of how Guyana’s forests are managed in the fields, and will plead innocence to what is actually happening at the GFC Head Office as it relates to finances and staff benefits. But what I can definitively say is that this sector is well managed, and is one of the most regulated. To now learn that efforts are being made to “reorganise” this sector causes something to smell fishy.
I am sure that the Government, which approved this reorganisation, has been misled, and should pay attention to what has happened, is happening, and will happen. The consequences and repercussions of this intended “reorganisation” will have far-reaching social effects for the staff of the Commission and for forest stakeholders, and political implications for the Government.
Further, I believe that, since this Government came into power, the Commission was deliberately handicapped and sabotaged by this former commissioner and the Ministry of Natural Resources, in order for it to arrive at this stage as a means to justify “reorganisation” and seize control of an independent, semi-autonomous agency to satisfy the personal and selfish needs of this former commissioner and his subject Ministry.
C De Barros (Snr)