Region 10 loggers up in arms against Govt’s 164,000 acres land giveaway
…plan protest action
The massive giveaway of prime State forest along the Berbice River to known Government financier, Lloyd Singh, has sparked outraged among the country’s loggers.
On Friday Guyana Times reported that some 164,000 acres of prime State forest has been allocated to Singh, just days before the March 2 General and Regional Elections. The areas under question were recently repossessed by the incumbent APNU/AFC Administration.
Several loggers in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) have since reached out to this publication to express their anger and disgust at the PNC-led caretaker Government allocation of the 164,000 acres of prime forested lands to AFC campaign financier.
The loggers explained that they had been trying for years to increase their allocations without success and it was therefore astounding that the Government would act so capriciously to show favouritism to an individual who has no prior experience in the forestry sector.
To this end, the loggers indicated that they will be protesting the massive giveaway.
Guyana Times was told that the last-minute allocation of Guyana’s State forest was done via a rushed and uncompetitive process that was engineered to favour Singh.
In fact, a source at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) told this newspaper that it is highly unusual that an area of this stocking and location had only a sole applicant.
Singh is a known financier of the Government – the minor party in the coalition Administration. In fact, he had even funded the party’s head office located on the Kitty Railway and Embankment in Georgetown.
At the time, Party Leader Raphael Trotman said in reference to Singh’s apparent generosity, “Businessmen make investments in political parties and expect a return on their investments”. Trotman’s Natural Resources Ministry has responsibility for the forestry sector. Since getting into office, Singh has benefited from several contracts under the APNU/AFC coalition. However, these were not without controversy.
He was embroiled in controversy over the US$50 million Hope Beach Wind Farm project, which was handed to him by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, who is the General Secretary of the AFC.