UK consultant notes are irresponsible and unprofessional
I wish to refer to an article in the Stabroek News under the caption “Annual Progress Report on REDD-Plus enablers – 2010 – for the Norway-Guyana MOU” by John Palmer (read here) in its issue of Thursday November 4, 2010. Allow me to raise the following points:
(1) The notes of John Palmer are similar to the views of a group of unpatriotic Guyanese opposed to Guyana’s LCDS despite his consultancy status with the UK government. This is rather disappointing.
(2) It is known that a Guyanese cabal opposed to Guyana’s LCDS is linked to an overseas-based ring providing misleading information about Guyana’s LCDS. This overseas based ring then writes what is told to them by the Guyanese cabal who are political power seekers masquerading as nature conservationist and concerned citizens. No doubt John Palmer feel prey to the Guyanese cabal and penned his notes on Guyana’s LCDS which are only good for the garbage bin.
(3) John Palmer needs to recheck the MSSC minutes to determine the number of Amerindians who are members of the MSSC. There are nine Amerindians on the MSSC and not five as wrongly stated by John Palmer. He has scored a zero here.
(4) John Palmer in his notes’ stated that there are a number of unanswered questions from the first round of the LCDS consultations but failed to state what are these questions. He questions why the REDD secretariat is in the GFC and the office of Climate Change is under the President. Other countries that are pursuing the REDD + strategy have government agencies managing their climate change activities. But John Palmer is not questioning those countries, but chooses to question Guyana. President Jagdeo blazed the trial for the fight against global climate change and was suitably honoured with the Champion of the Earth Award by the United Nations. The President of Guyana is therefore most qualified to chair the MSSC of the LCDS. And the office of Climate change is suitably placed under the President. Another zero for John Palmer.
(5) The Government of Guyana is at the forefront of indigenous peoples’ rights in our country. The Amerindian Act 2006 gives indigenous villages and communities the right to self-determination to manage their communities and to pursue their development options within the interference by Government. The Amerindian Act 2006 is the best in comparison to other countries that have indigenous populations. The Rights of Indigenous peoples will be fully respected where the REDD + Strategy is concerned and their participation or ‘opting in’ the strategy will be guided by the International Indigenous Rights principle of free, prior and informed consent (epic) another zero for John Palmer.
(6) The government of Guyana claims that the Statutory National Toshao Council (NTC) is the only body of its kind in the world is right since the indigenous leaders have face to face discussions with the President in addressing village problems and concerns. He interacts with them positively and this was vividly seen at the recently concluded National Toshaos Conference held at the International Convention Centre in Georgetown. John Palmer failed miserably to provide adequate information to the Sami Council of the Tundra. Another zero for him.
(7) John Palmer stated in his ‘notes’ that there is a high level of corruption and financial malpractice in Guyana without providing evidence. He is simply parroting what the political opposition is saying and fails to conduct research. He is therefore mischievous and misleading. He is contending that the Norwegian funds will be subjected to corruption when such funds will be placed in the Guyana REDD-Plus Investment Fund (GRIF) run by a reputable international organisation to channel results-based REDD-Plus funds from Norway and other potential contributors for the implementation of Guyana’s LCDS. Safeguards as well as fiduciary and operational policies of the organisation selected will apply. This financial mechanism will also ensure full national and international oversight of financial flows. Another zero for John Palmer.
(8) The MSSC is never subjected to the ever-changing ideas of the President. John Palmer is again misleading here. He made contentions in his ‘notes’ but failed to provide evidence which is totally irresponsible. Guyana received US$30 million as the first tranche from Norway. US$8 million will go to the Amerindian communities for land titling and demarcation as well as for community development projects. The President knows the needs of the Amerindian communities and rightfully directs what the US$8 million should be spent on. REDD+ money going to Amerindian communities if they decide to ‘opt in’ in the strategy will be utilised by them without no one directing them how to spend their money. John Palmer is again misleading and another zero for him.
(9) John Palmer, a ‘consultant’ to the UK government on forest research as claimed by Stabroek News was never in Guyana to conduct research and interviews in relation to Guyana’s preparations for the implementation of its REDD+ strategy. His ‘notes’ are therefore totally irresponsible and unprofessional.