Over 1,000 persons around the country, over the past year have benefitted from eight projects which were funded by the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) and the Forest Law Enforcement, Gover-nance and Trade (FLEGT) Facilitation Support Office (FFSO), according to Deonarine Ramsaroop, President of the Forest Products Association (FPA) of Guyana.
Ramsaroop made the disclosure on Friday while chairing a seminar organised by the FPA along with the FLEGT Secretariat of the Guyana Forestry Com-mission and the FFSO, where recipients of grants from the NTWG and FFSO were given the opportunity to share their experiences. The grant awardees, both individuals and organisations, had embarked on projects throughout the country to educate stakeholders in the sector about the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), which is being negotiated between the Government of Guyana and the European Union.
Speaking at the event, Carol Benjamin, a civil society member who received a grant, explained that she visited 11 different hinterland communities in Region Two, where she educated some 140 persons on the laws surrounding the forestry industry. She also added that she was able to get assistance from the Guyana Revenue Authority and National Insurance Scheme on educating the participants about tax laws and record keeping requirements.
Benjamin said that she also taught the participants how to balance their books and to keep better record of their work.
Another grant awardee, from the Forestry Training Center Inc. (FTCI), Q. Bremmer, explained that his project saw him interacting with some 22 logging communities around the country.
“We had those associations equipped with GPS devices and would’ve trained them to use it. Because what we know is, for anything to be legal, it has to be verified and we also taught them how to do that,” Bremmer said.
Dr. Alhassan Attah, the FLEGT facilitator, also gave brief remarks and highlighted the importance of ensuring that the logs being exported are verified aa being from a legal source, which in turns boosts the country’s image of transparency and honesty, and opens up the economy for more business in the long run.