Dear Editor,
Guyana indeed must be proud of Iwokrama who is leading the way in environmental sustainability and helping to keep the earth breathing safely. However, very little is done outside the Iwokrama reserve in relation to conservation and regeneration. So I have this dream that sees the Ministry of Agriculture leading the way in a campaign to plant trees across Guyana, including our native fruit trees, many of which are becoming rare and scarce, and ‘ some are probably already nearing extinction.
The Ministry might set up a fruit tree nursery to provide seedlings across Guyana, complemented by a campaign urging Guyanese to use the available land space to plant local fruit trees. In addition, the Botanic Gardens may be able to establish a similar nursery for trees and flowering plants, which could also be another way of generating income for the Gardens.
And while we’re talking about regeneration, the Ministry may also want to consider nurseries to regenerate local freshwater fish and crustaceans, many of which are also disappearing. Besides the fact that this will again make freshwater fish, crabs and shrimp readily available, it must be noted that these creatures also play important roles in the eco-system, especially fish that store a large proportion of ecosystem nutrients in their tissues, transport nutrients further than other aquatic animals and faecal nutrients in dissolved forms readily available to primary producers.
And this process of preservation and regeneration can be fostered by laws that limit still higher than some sizes, while requiring the return of smaller sizes and holding with eggs. This type of fishing behavior will not easily catch on but mechanisms to enforce the laws must be initiated and established. In fact, similar laws should apply to catch from the oceans as well.
Finally, the replenished landscape and waterways can be an incentive to foster an ongoing anti-corruption campaign that sees Guyanese across the land ensuring the proper management / disposal of rubbish guidelines set out by Government with the necessary support in place. In this regard, First Lady Arya Ali has already shown the way but her efforts may need to be replicated nationally by reviving the spirit of self-help and residents taking ownership of the landscape and waterways.
Many of my generation would remember that this was, to a degree, the culture of our growing up days and if it is brought back and intensified it can also enhance Guyana’s tourism product. And who knows … maybe coming together at community level will contribute to reducing ethnic tensions and hostility. It could also lead to community / Private Sector / Government collaboration in establishing community parks and aesthetic areas for relaxation and recreation. Such parks / areas can also be named after local heroes and achievers as part of a process to preserve local history and folklore.
More importantly, this whole process, which is politics, can be ongoing no matter which party is in power since it became a people-centered effort with long-term, national benefits.

Annan Boodram

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