Cabinet approves US$100,000 for cash-strapped Iwokrama

Cabinet yesterday approved US$100,000 ($20m) in emergency funding to the Iwokrama rainforest centre to cover expenses such as paying staff of the cash-strapped forest reserve facility.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon this morning made the announcement saying that Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman briefed cabinet on what he said is a “sad situation”.

Additionally, he said a committee inclusive of Trotman,  the centre’s Chief Executive Officer, Dane Gobin and Major General Joe Singh among others will review the operations of the centre and recommend a way forward. The committee is expected to commence its work immediately.

Following questions, Harmon revealed that Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma, during a visit here this week, stated that they would be unable to further support the centre. Harmon also said that the Chairman of the centre Dr Rajendra Pachauri has not been functioning as he faces legal challenges in India.

Last year, the centre had said it depended heavily on government for a huge portion of its financing as international funding dwindled.

In February this year, former Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon had announced that Cabinet had approved a US$100,000 tranche from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to the Iwokrama centre, which was intended to provide financial support. It is not clear whether this US$100,000 was paid over or this is the same figure that the new government will be transferring.

Luncheon, according to GINA had stated that the loan to Iwokrama would assist the centre in successfully implementing its 2015 financial plan. He cited the “current dire financial situation” of the centre which would be eased, with the monetary intervention.

Field stations at Iwokrama (GINA photo)
Field stations at Iwokrama (GINA photo)

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