─ training increases awareness in areas of legal obligations, fiscal and social duties
─ community groups say training “insightful”
By Felecia Valenzuela
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the European Union (FAO-EU) sponsored initiative, through its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, was held for eleven months with members of Community Forestry Organisations.
It focused on areas where compliance has been lacking. These include; Corporation and Income Tax requirements, National Insurance and Social Security requirements, and labour matters such as employee age, non-discrimination, occupational health and safety and payment of wages.
Welcoming the initiative, many participants described it as insightful.
Chairperson of the Maria Elizabeth Small Loggers and Farmers Association acknowledged that her association has been fined many times for not complying to GFC’s code of practice. “It was very informative, we learned so much from that process, we used to have some big fines from the Guyana Forestry Commission and from the time we had this [training], our members are adjusting themselves to suit GFC’s code of practice.”
President of the Coomacka Forestry Producers and Agriculture Association, Sybil Edmundson, added that the EU-FLEGT training was greatly appreciated. “It helped us to build capacity, to do things better than we used to do before; it helped us to do sustainable logging.”
Another participating association – the Upper Berbice Forest and Agri Producers Association also welcomed the training. Derick Daniel, President of the association, said he was eager to start implementing the guidelines outlined during the training. “Our members generally will have different views as it relates to the GRA, NIS and other agencies, but we need to be compliant, and presently, as an association, we are working to get all members complaint with these regulations.”
The programmes’ main objective was to increase compliance levels with fiscal and social obligations as established under the legal definition for small concessions for the 69 members of the CFOs.
Taken in two parts; project one addressed limited compliance while project two addressed imports of timber meeting specific criteria, being a part of Guyana’s supply chain to the EU and other countries.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and FAO Representative in Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith were among those who attended the closing of the training programme on Tuesday.
Image: Giovanni Gajie