Karrau residents urged to prudently manage newly-commissioned sawmill

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Hon. Gail Teixeira has charged the residents of Karrau in Region Seven to effectively manage the newly-commissioned sawmill.

It was Minister Teixeira who commissioned the sawmill Sunday last, during her two-day outreach to Regions Seven and Ten.

Hon. Gail Teixeira, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs & Governance

The Minister acknowledged that the sawmill, which costs some $8 million, holds the potential to transform the village. However, she highlighted that the sawmill’s longevity hinges on the management and accountability of the project.

“This project is well-situated for the future, the future for Karrau and the future for Region Seven, and if we don’t manage it well and we don’t put accountability systems in, it will fail and it will be of no use to the village.

As we congratulate you, we also say to you that we want this to be sustainable. You want this to last for many years to come. You want to add on new equipment, expand and you want to become more sophisticated in the type of equipment and wood that you produce,” she noted.

Minister Teixeira cutting the ribbon to the Karrau Village Sawmill

The Minister said it would be good for the village to establish a management committee which will oversee the operation of the sawmill. This, she noted, can be spearheaded with support from the Toshaos.

“The same demands that you make from your President, Prime Minister and VP that they must be accountable, that they must produce, that they must keep up their promises, is the same thing we must demand from Toshaos and village elections. They must be able to be accountable.”

Minister Teixeira also advised the residents that annually, a report should be compiled detailing the amount of wood brought to the sawmill, how much it was sold for and the cost of maintaining it. This will aid in the transparency of the facility.

She said the project fits into what President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has been highlighting, as it relates to creating economic activities to bolster the effect of the Covid pandemic.  

To ensure its further success, the Minister suggested that the village should work with the Ministries of Amerindian Affairs and Tourism, Industry and Commerce to get technical support for employment and revenue creation.

Villagers, she recommended, should also seek support on marketing strategies.

The Karrau Village Sawmill

The Minister informed residents that the PPP/C Government is looking to renegotiate the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) agreement with Norway. This agreement, which secured billions of dollars for Guyana, was aimed at preserving Guyana’s forest in return for payments.

“When we talk about forestry and logging and having a wood industry, we also have to protect the forests. We can’t have people cutting anywhere they want to cut. It has to be controlled and managed, and we have to make sure that we replace the trees that are being cut. We have to have proper management, not only because of the fact that we have a clean earth, but also that if we continue to cut down the trees, we end up damaging the land thereby causing soil erosion.”

She added that residents should work along with the Guyana Forestry Commission to ensure that logging is conducted at the highest standards.