Group which sought delay in LCDS payments is political

Dear Editor,

I wish to refer to an article in the Stabroek News under the caption ‘Gov’t has substantially failed to implement forest saving agreement with Norway, say civil society members…’ in its issue of  March 28; and one in the Kaieteur News of the same date under the caption ‘Group wants Norway to delay payment to Guyana.’

The SN called this grouping a “civil society body,” while the KN referred to the grouping as merely “the group.” Both the independent dailies are wrong; the ‘body’ is a loose grouping and it is not a civil society group, since the group is saddled with opposition politicians and environmentalists with political objectives.

Despite the fact that global climate change is occurring and has catastrophic effects, this loose grouping of so-called environmentalists and politicians are hell-bent on sabotaging the genuine partnership between Norway and Guyana. This political grouping under the leadership of Janette Bulkan wants the LCDS to fail, and is working towards this hideous cause for cheap political mileage for the upcoming general elections. This is what Norway needs to know.

A civil society body does not have politicians in its membership and the group that wrote to Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development to delay payments for Guyana’s LCDS is therefore not qualified to be a civil society body since it has a political membership which is affiliated to the Alliance For Change (AFC) political party. This is what Norway needs to know. Given that the group is political, it can therefore in no way represent the interests of civil society in Guyana.

Since Ms Bulkan’s  political grouping comprises “environmentalists,” what is their justification really for calling for a delay in payments for Guyana’s LCDS from Norway when they claim to be believers in forest preservation?  This call is therefore definitely political, since Guyana’s deforestation rate is below 0.45%. So what is this big hullabaloo about? It appears that this political clique wants to own and control the Norwegian funds for Guyana’s forest protection scheme since it wrongly accuses the Government of Guyana of secrecy and corruption when they lack evidence to back their claims.

What is even more blatant is that they are going against Amerindians receiving titles to their lands as well as Amerindian land demarcations and extensions. Their call to delay funds from Norway will therefore definitely hurt Guyana’s Indigenous peoples who are at present concerned about the extremely long delay in the release of these funds for their participation in Guyana’s LCDS. Norway needs to know that Guyana’s Indigenous peoples are concerned over the actions of so-called civil society groups that seek to destroy Guyana’s LCDS and deprive them of resources for their development while they participate in the LCDS.

Yours faithfully,
Peter Persaud

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