Janet Bulkan wants to take bread out of my family’s ‘mouth’
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Dear Editor,

I READ with disbelieving eyes that Dr. Janet Bulkan said the ban on greenheart by the UK is entirely correct on the basis of her interpretation. I have a few questions to ask her before I show that her statement is just emotional and very anti-Guyanese.First, as a forestry sector stakeholder, I felt very happy when Dr. Bulkan was elected to the GFC Board. I felt that she would give very sensible advice and, in some way, help to ease the mountain of rules that GFC forces me to comply with. I expected that she would bring relief to the general sector; but here she is, instead (apparently) attacking the forestry sector; damaging our markets, taking bread out of my family ‘mouth’. She is someone who people listen to, and when she writes this (apparent) nonsense, it destroys Guyana as a market place.

My first question is: Shouldn’t a board member discuss any valid issues at board level before going public? Have these issues been so discussed? And if so, did the board give approval for them to be public? If yes, why did it not come from the Board of Directors, and not Ms. Bulkan?

The second question is: Isn’t board information supposed to be confidential; and are not board members supposed to be confidential too? Isn’t there a law that prevents Dr. Bulkan from writing these things and (probably) using her position as a board member to get this confidential stuff and releasing it with her spin to destroy my market and my livelihood?

I beg the Hon President and Ministers Harmon and Trotman to investigate this (apparent) state of illegal affairs.
I attend many GFC meetings, and as a forester and logger, I know the reality. I want to cry when I see two or three lovely big trees close to each other and I can’t cut any because of GFC rules. I sometimes study the money I would lose because I am not allowed to cut proximity trees, as GFC calls them. But I don’t cut them, because I know that the forest officer would catch me when doing stump inspection and I would lose more.
I have to first measure trees, then cut in certain direction, then tag everything; then write down species, measurement, date, m3, tag number. Things which I never did in school the GFC forcing me to do, and I have to do them, otherwise I would have bare problem. If I cut in a restricted buffer area, the GFC would seize my things.

Did Ms. Bulkan ever experience these things? How often does she go into the logging camp and experience the pests and dangers? I think never! Yet she wants to spread false rumours and take bread out of my and family’s mouths. What does she benefit from this? Does it increase her doctor’s salary at the university to bad talk her country and Guyanese? And with these (apparent) lies?

I cut on a SFP, and that is a set of rules already for SFM, but I know that large TSA have a more rigid system to follow. And I read too, but probably not the same book that Dr. Bulkan read, because I learnt that Norway, and the EU sent down experts to audit our forest and practices. I know about EU Flegt. All these people are field experts and book experts too. They have much higher qualifications and experience than Dr. Bulkan.

These auditors say in their reports that Guyana practises SFM. That Guyana harvests less than 35% of allowable harvest. That Guyana has implementation of SFM. That Guyana has low deforestation and sustainability. That we are doing a good job, but need more added-value and little log exports. That will come later.

The audit experts gave Guyana a star, but the “expert Dr. Bulkan says no. So who do I believe? Sorry, Dr. Bulkan, not you. The other doctors have real facts to back up their story, unlike you.

As a concerned logger who depends on forestry to feed my family and pay bills, I beg the Government and GFC Board to act now. Stop this factless expert from destroying me and the lives of everyone in the forestry sector. This has been going on for too long, and it must stop now.
Regards,
TERENCE WILLIAMS

 

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