Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman says the government is considering allocating a part of the 1.6M hectares previously held by Barama Company Limited for conservation.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon recently told a post-Cabinet press briefing that Trotman had presented a number of options for the alternative use for the land.
Additionally, a Cabinet sub-committee, comprising the ministers of Natural Resources, Communities, Business, Indigenous People’s Affairs and Social Protection, was set up to discuss the matter.
Speaking at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Trotman explained that the government is considering whether to give the land out in blocks, since it has received expressions of interest from both local and international companies or “whether we should cut them into four quadrants of about 400,000 hectares each, putting aside some for conservation, some for small loggers and some for international loggers.”
He said that the sub-committee is examining the issues and looking at the forest in a holistic way and trying to find a solution that is consistent with the government’s plan for a green economy.
The sub-committee is required to submit its recommendations by November 30.
Barama had announced last month that it was not interested in renewing its 25-year agreement with the government. As a result of the move, some 500 workers would be retrenched in the next three months as the company is in the process of closing down its forest operations.
General Manager of Barama Mohindra Chand had explained that the number included 180 workers that were laid off prior to the decision.