The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has ordered the Upper Pomeroon Amerindian community of Kabakaburi to immediately cease all logging activities, which it has been accused of carrying out on state-owned land.
This dispute has been ongoing for more than 12 years and the GFC ordered that all works on the disputed areas be halted until a resolution.
At the Region Two Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting on Tuesday in Anna Regina, Toshao Cleveland Simon said that the order by the GFC has severely affected his community.
“The GFC’s decision to cease all logging operations in the village has jeopardised the local economy immensely. The Kabakaburi village is heavily dependent on its logging activity and more than 60% of the population is dependent on logging, since farming bears much distress as the Pomeroon River occasionally overflows,” he said.
“This matter has become overbearing because the residents are pressuring me as a leader to represent them. It’s a lot of frustration because only the other day we received GYD$50,000 to rectify the matter. Subsequently the money was spent out running around behind these offices with no results. The Lands and Surveys officer told me that he give our shape file to forestry. When I called the Commissioner of Forestry, they told me that lands and surveys can’t find the map. So it’s a lot of confusion here,” he added.
Simon explained that the shape file is a map that indicates the territorial boundaries of the village, separating it from its surrounding neighbours and since the very important document is said to be missing, confusion is sure to abound. He further said that the GFC, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs are all aware of the ongoing boundary issues and residents are calling for immediate action to resolve them so that life in the village can return to normal. “Personally, I believe that these territorial issues are definitely not in line and in keeping with this year’s Heritage [Month] theme, ‘A Brighter future for the first people of Guyana,’” he added.