The ghost of corruption has once again returned to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). Reminiscent of what took place in the mid-nineties and early 2000s there is evidence of widespread corruption and collusion. Some officers are paid to turn a blind eye to illegality in the field. Persons cut wood on state land and make it look as if it is coming from their area. Some people are getting concessions without merit while others without equipment, etc, are continually being denied. This is a government that promised change and transparency.
I hope the GFC board under the acute leadership of the first female chair doesn’t turn a blind eye to such corruption happening under their noses. I know there are reputable and respectable gentlemen on the board who don’t stand for corruption and thus I am baffled as to why nothing is being done.
Right now in the North West Kwebanna area a few individuals have permission to cut and remove wood like purpleheart, etc, from state lands. No royalty is paid and the wood is sold; big money is involved here. A BM of purpleheart is $300 and they are cutting 4000 to 5000 BM a week. Somebody should go on the ground in the forest and see the amount of wood that is being cut illegally and shipped out, or else talk to the people in the area.
There are also widespread illegal activities in Bartica. Again, if the board talks to the people who get valid concessions in the area or to the Bartica group they will hear about what is happening.
A particular exporter has been getting approval for a certain quantity of produce in Kwakwani and after the export document is approved more stuff is loaded in the container thereby underpaying export duties to the GFC.
Supenaam is another hot spot for illegal activities.
In addition, legitimate persons with good equipment and records are continually being denied while others with little or no equipment are getting sometimes more than one concession.
The list can go on, but I do hope that this information is dealt with seriously by the Commissioner and the Chair of the board. The sector has great respect for them and has the expectation they will run a clean slate. They should act now.