JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Forestry Department is reporting that sawmill operators are complying with regulations for them to license their milling operations.
  • Legal Officer at the department, Rainee Oliphant, said the response to the requirement for persons to come in and license their operations has been encouraging.
  • The sawmill licensing regime, which falls under the Forest Regulations, is aimed at regulating the island’s sawmilling industry as well as providing greater protection for the country’s forests.

The Forestry Department is reporting that sawmill operators are complying with regulations for them to license their milling operations.

Legal Officer at the department, Rainee Oliphant, said the response to the requirement for persons to come in and license their operations has been encouraging.

“We’ve got just under 90 applications to date and we’ve generated over 70 licences and we are encouraged,” she said at a recent JIS Think Tank.

The sawmill licensing regime, which falls under the Forest Regulations, is aimed at regulating the island’s sawmilling industry as well as providing greater protection for the country’s forests.

Under the licensing system, which became effective in January, persons who intend to operate sawmills must receive a licence from the Forestry Department. The application fee is $15,000, and once granted, the licence is valid for one calendar year, after which it must be renewed.

Miss Oliphant pointed out that in addition to large entities, small one-man operators are also required to have their equipment licensed. Failure to do so can lead to prosecution and/or a fine.

She noted that the focus is on persons who are engaged in cutting trees on a commercial basis, and not for private use.

“So, the saw man, who is converting trees to board, whether it’s his own trees or he’s hired by an individual, is required to have a licence in order to avoid prosecution,” she informed.

Persons who fail to comply with the regulations could be fined up to $50,000 for each offence.  “So, when you look at it, the payment of a $15,000 fee on an annual basis is nothing in comparison to being charged 4, 5, 6 times for not having (a licence),” she pointed out.

Miss Oliphant told JIS News that licensing is important not just to strengthen the Forestry Department’s monitoring and management capabilities, but also to have a better grasp of the types of trees that are being cut.

“The application (form) looks at the species of trees that are targeted, the number of trees being cut, frequency, quantity of persons hired and therefore allowing us to have a more informed decision-making process going forward,” she noted.