Retired foresters believe the Forestry Division is understaffed and lacks proper management training.
During their annual Christmas luncheon held at the San Fernando Hill, vice president of the Forestry Retirees Association Clarence Bacchus said the retirees were willing to share their wealth of expertise to assist in proper forests management.
In an interview, Bacchus said more training must be provided to the cadre of forest rangers who manage T&T’s forest reserves.
With regard to deforestation, Bacchus said while the problem was not dire but he noted that there was room for improvement.
“We are hoping to be that advocacy group and we can make an input into the development of forestry in T&T,” Bacchus said. He added that apart from understaffing, the forestry wardens needed holistic training in entrepreneurial management when it came to the sale of forest trees.
“We have challenges in human resource development. We do not have a training institution specific to the work of the forestry so we have a cadre of human resource that is not in line with the requirements needed for proper forests management.”
Asked to elaborate, Bacchus said, “Forestry is a scientific subject and the forestry division has to manage competency in sales. I believe the people who are involved in the selling of forest trees are not properly trained when it comes to sales. The forestry division is planning to conduct training to upgrade the skills of those who are in the forest management level,” Bacchus said. He noted that many of the retired foresters believe they still have a contribution to make.
He said many forest reserves in areas such as Arena, Nariva, Caroni swamp and in the southern watershed are protected.
He also said there was a need to have proper linkages with saw-millers and furniture manufacturers to ensure that the forest reserves are not exploited.
Reporter: Radhica Sookraj