Georgetown, Guyana – (September 10, 2015) The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, under its Wildlife Management Authority (WMA), today held its National Stakeholders Consultation, to discuss the final draft of the Wildlife Import and Export Bill, which is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly by Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman in October.
The WMA, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency's Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, organised the event with the aim of revising the Wildlife Import and Export Bill, which is intended to create a national framework and mechanisms for governing wildlife management and conservation in Guyana.
The event was held at the Grand Coastal Inn and was attended by, Minister of Governance with responsibility for Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman, Permanent Secretary of the NRE, Joslyn McKenzie, Advisor on Sustainable Development at NRE, Clayton Hall, Head of the Wildlife Division, Alona Sankar, Wildlife Protection activist, Annette Arjoon-Martins and Consultant for the Department, Teni Housty.
Representatives from various organisations including the United States of America Embassy, Conservation International Guyana (CIG), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Iwokrama International Centre, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), among others, were also present.
Minister Trotman told the participants of the session that it is important that the draft be completed and become a reality for Guyana. "We believe that this is one of the very worthwhile endeavours of the last administration, which must be seen to completion and so we have gathered to ensure that we see that process through to reality. I've gone through the Bill and so far, I am quite impressed with the work done," Minister Trotman said.
He related that he is hopeful that when Bill is tabled in the National Assembly, it will receive the support of the Opposition, People's Progressive Party, as well as all national stakeholders.
"Once it is tabled in the National Assembly, we will take it to the Special Select Committee and we want it to receive the support of the Opposition and the stakeholders so that by the end of this year, Guyana can say it has an Act and not a Bill," the Minister told the participants. Head of the Wildlife Division, Aloma Sankar, in brief remarks said that the consultation was another step in the legislative process as it provides a new approach to protect and conserve wildlife in Guyana.
"In July, 2014, a consultative meeting was held on the Wildlife Import and Export Bill and concern was expressed about the apparent disjointed approach to wildlife management and conservation in Guyana. This consultative meeting seeks to present the new approach to wildlife management and conservation in Guyana and to obtain feedback from the stakeholders on the way forward. In today's session, there will be heavy focus on the areas of the Bill which have been amended to reflect the new framework," she said.
Adviser on Sustainable Development at NRE, Clayton Hall said that this approach was born out of the new administration's thrust to ensure Guyana's national patrimony and natural resources are sustainably protected.
"...under this government, wildlife is recognised as part and parcel of our natural resources and patrimony. There is a new approach to how we deal with how these are used by the people and for the people. We want to ensure that whatever happens, it happens in a way that provide benefits for all Guyanese and also that we leave that which we have inherited for future generations to enjoy," Hall told the participants.
He noted that the Bill will also ensure that participants and stakeholders in the management of the conservation of Guyana's wildlife are of the highest rectitude and integrity, while ensuring that the future safeguards are in place for those involved in conservation and trade to operate under strict rules and guidelines.