Police warn residents against Mon Repos mangroves destruction

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QUICK action by the Mangrove Action Committee (MAC) caused Police to warn residents of Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, to desist from activities which would destroy the seedlings planted there. It was reported that several persons from the community graze sheep and goats at Mon Repos foreshore and the animals are responsible for the destruction there.
Planting at the location started last week and 10,000 are to be sited there, following 10,350 at Hope, also on the East Coast of Demerara.
The drive is part of the effort to ensure that Guyana’s mangroves are protected, managed and restored.
GMRP Coordinator, Mr. Bissasar Chintamanie told the Guyana Chronicle that prosecution will be the course of action if residents persist with such actions.
He reported that, to date, the scheme has received much support from the community, as a result of intense public awareness activities.
In that context, Chintamanie said the MAC is not advancing the “big stick” approach but rather, with assistance from the Police, it is issuing warnings to the few people who are seemingly unaware of the consequences of destroying mangroves.
He maintained, however, that the MAC will apply stronger measures against those who pose a threat to the mangroves.
Currently, under the Sea Defence Act of 1998, destruction of mangrove forests carries a fine of $12,000 and a sentence of 12 months imprisonment.
The amended Forestry Act of 2010 also provides penalties for the offence.
The MAC was established under the $100M, Government funded Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project (GMRP), the objectives of which are:

* to promote sustainable management of mangrove forest;

* develop effective protection of mangrove ecosystem and rehabilitation;

* increase public awareness and education on the benefits of the mangrove forests;

* establish and complete a legal framework for mangrove ecosystem management and encourage community-based mangrove management and

* establish the administrative capacity for the management of mangroves in Guyana.
The undertaking is managed by the MAC within the Climate Change and Agricultural Adaptation Unit of Guyana’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of the Ministry of Agriculture. (Vanessa Narine)