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Forester slams sustainable forest management claims

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
17 April 2012
Publisher Name: 
Guyana Chronicle
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Timber Procurement


Claims of sustainable management of Guyana’s forests made by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment are false even for one of the best-known timbers, says John Palmer, a Senior Associate of the Forest Management Trust.

“It is contrary to all national policies for timber logs to be exported instead of processed in Guyana, yet the GFC appears to be happy to allow tens of thousands of cubic metres to leave Guyana each year at sub-normal declared prices even while there are claims of local lumber shortages,” said Palmer in a letter to this newspaper which was published on Sunday.

Concerns have been raised recently about the exports of high volumes of unprocessed logs and Palmer has expressed concern at incomplete forestry data put out by the GFC but noted that Guyana has committed to improvements including transparency of operations and reporting under its MoU with Norway, and has also applied for a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) with the European Union under the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade action plan. “Integral to a VPA is independent forest monitoring which implies also greater transparency and an end to government censorship of information,” he observed.

Putting the record straight

PETER PERSAUD, 17 April 2012

KINDLY permit me to respond to a letter in the Kaieteur News under the caption: “Poor Management of Guyana’s tropical rainforest’ in its issue of Sunday April 8, 2012 and written by J. R. Palmer. This letter was also published in the Stabroek News under the caption “GFC, Ministry of Natural Resources claims of sustainable management of Guyana’s forest are false even for Purple Heart” (SN Sun April 08, 2012). The Stabroek News published the same letter in a press release format under the caption, “Forester slams sustainable forest management claims (SN Tues, April 10, 2012)
Please allow me to state the following in relation to this mischievous letter:

  1. John Palmer continues to exploit the anti-government stance of both the Kaieteur News and Stabroek which give coverage to anything without merit which goes against the Government of Guyana. John Palmer’s letter is a typical example.
  2. John Palmer, an old Englishman without anything productive to do in Florida is engaged in misleading the Guyanese public and the international community that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources are not sustainably managing the forests of Guyana.
  3. But in March 2011 experts have concluded that “The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) being the state agency to plan for and manage the state forest estate, has advanced efforts towards enhancing sustainable forest management and strengthening important areas such as legality, forest industry and training in harvesting practices. One important aspect of natural resource management is the area of environmental services.”
  4. John Palmer is using old and recycled statistics in the formulation of his own analysis which is not credible and definitely flawed. He then uses “his flawed analysis” to claim that Guyana’s forests are not sustainably managed. In fact, Palmer refers to his partner Janet Bulkan’s “also flawed analysis” but like Bulkan he will certainly fail in his anti-Guyana agenda. It must be noted that Janet Bulkan, did what Palmer is now doing, using flawed analysis in her agenda against Guyana’s LCDS. But Bulkan failed miserably when Norway transferred US$70 million into GRIF. Very soon Palmer will suffer the same fate and I hope that he has the strength to face it.
  5. John Palmer of the Forest Management Trust of Florida must be reminded that international and independent experts and assessors have discovered Guyana’s deforestation rate to be 0.06 per cent, among the lowest in the world and illegal logging is less than one per cent. In this regard many countries have applauded Guyana for practising sustainable forest management, especially at the concession unit level. This is what the international forest experts are saying and not Peter Persaud. So who are John Palmer and Janet Bulkan who are not residents of Guyana to discredit the analysis of credible international experts of Guyana’s forest sector?
  6. Let me go back to history a bit. In 2000 the export of locust and crabwood logs was restricted based on a recommendation by the manufacturing sector with strong support from the Precision Woodworking Limited (PWL). The question now is, where is the PWL the answer is, it has collapsed.
  7. In 2011, the government decided to restrict the export of logs which was strongly opposed by the processing unit of the manufacturing sector.
  8. In 2007, there was a national log export debate. Janet Bulkan was in the audience, but said absolutely nothing about the banning of log exports. I am aware however, that there are ongoing discussions for the national log export policy to be updated. What is the manufacturing sector’s position on this?
  9. Back to John Palmer. This old Englishman does not understand market forces which are a factor for the wood specie Merbau carrying a better price than Purple Heart in Asia.
  10. Palmer’s little analysis of sustainable forest management in Guyana therefore does not serve any important or useful purpose, since it is basically designed to mislead the international community and wickedly frustrate the arrangements between Guyana and Norway to promote Guyana’s Low Carbon Economic Development, while combating Global Climate Change. Guyana’s national log export policy will be subject to discussions and I am sure that the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) will not be in favour of the banning of log exports.
  11. John Palmer, an old British citizen is now a house slave carrying out the orders of Bulkan to write bad things about Guyana’s forest sector so that Guyana Forest Protection Scheme under the LCDS launched by former President Bharrat Jagdeo to combat climate change becomes unsuccessful. The UK citizens will certainly be disappointed and ashamed knowing that John Palmer is doing dirty work for a lesser known human specie to stifle the development of a poor third world country. Palmer has certainly outlived his usefulness.
  12. Mr. Editor, John Palmer’s Analysis’ is flawed, since it did not conclude that Guyana is harvesting 30 times more than the regeneration limit. Do not try to mislead the Guyanese public and the international community, John. In your previous letter, while you made a very broad statement that the harvesting of commercial species is 30 times more than the regeneration limit, you are now saying that it is Purple Heart only. This is a shame.
  13. Finally, the shipment of 50 containers of logs by the Indian coffee company (KN, 05 April 2012) was done consistent with Guyana’s log export policy, therefore there were no breaches of the law.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut