It would be good practice for the GFC and the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council to join the global best practices in reporting

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has reported to the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) that “many of Guyana’s lesser used species of lumber continue to catch the attention of the overseas markets in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and North America” (ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report 16-14, 16-31 July 2011, page 11, and Stabroek News ‘Forestry Commission moving to upgrade wood-processing capacity – report,’ August 5 2011).  The GFC has not reported systematically since February 2008 what timbers are exported in what volumes to which countries each month, so how do we know that exports are of lesser used species rather than the increasingly rare commercially-prime species which have been under-managed and over-cut (purpleheart timber over-cut by about 30 times its capacity to regenerate naturally) under this GFC administration?

The GFC will need to become accustomed to disclosures of the kind which were the norm when the Guyana Timber Export Board was active.  In those years, not only were volumes declared for each species but also the names of the exporters.  Recall that the name of the real exporter of the 130 Guyanese timber logs found with 122 kg of cocaine in Jamaica in March this year is still not in the public domain, and the GFC has brought no case to court for the illegal harvesting and illegal export of those logs.  Nor was that shipment listed in the recently published GFC/FPDMC export records for March 2011. The US Lacey Act amended in 2008 and the European Union Timber Regulation enacted in October 2010 both require truthful declarations of species and volumes, and geographical origins, for timber exported into those regions.

So it would be good practice for the GFC and Forest Products Development and Marketing Council to join the global best practices in reporting.  That would also show some real progress (or at least recovery to what was normal in the past) for the REDD-plus Governance Development Plan required under the Norway-Guyana MoU.

Yours faithfully,
Janette Bulkan

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