The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC on Sunday announced the award of two brand-new concessions to the Ituni Small Loggers Association (ISLA).
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the 12, 500 acres in the Berbice County and 9,933 acres in Demerara, will be available to the loggers as soon as they sign their contracts with the Forestry Commission and also complete the demarcation process.
“Together, these could be done in less than two weeks,” the DPI reported.
Groups are usually allowed only one concession, but GFC’s Corporate Secretary, Attorney Jacey Archibald said the Commission’s technical committee took into consideration the good stewardship demonstrated by ISLA, fully utilising existing areas.
“They took into account the manner in which you have been able to honour your obligations to the Commission, including the paying of debts. In light of that, we recognise as well that your membership is growing and therefore, there is a need for you have more areas to be able to more effectively carry out and sustain yourselves,” Archibald was quoted saying.
Meanwhile, the GFC’s Corporate Secretary said the ISLA will have to consider the responsibilities that will come with the amalgamation of the two concessions, which, when combined, will become a large concession.
“Since anything over 8,097 hectares falls into the parameter of large concession and carries different rules and regulations, treated differently to that of small concessions including the payment of fees and increased reporting requirements.”
Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman who was also at the meeting said later this month, the ministry will be meeting with stakeholders and associations from across the country on a three-day workshop to discuss the future of the associations.
The announcement on Sunday came three weeks after Minister Trotman met with the loggers, who had then expressed concerns over their inability to carry out logging activities due to the exhaustion of their allotted tags. So far, the association has used up over 13,000 tags issued by the GFC, including almost 50% of their 2020 allocation.
Minister Trotman said there may be some remaining tags that could be issued to the loggers.