Lumber of a tree felled by the accused, David Taylor, in the Lennox Forest Estate, Portland.
A Portland man caught operating a chainsaw in a forest estate without a sawmill licence has been found guilty.
The accused, David Taylor, appeared before the Portland Parish Court on June 14, 2023 for the unlawful use of a sawmill in Lennox Forest Estate in Portland.
Acting Senior Parish Judge Patricia Lopez presided over the matter and fined Taylor $20,000 for operating a sawmill without a licence. The conviction follows an investigation by the Forestry Department.
On March 23, 2022 Taylor was caught operating the chainsaw (sawmill) during a routine patrol of the forest estate. After questioning, Taylor was found to be operating a sawmill without a licence. A Notice of Seizure was also served for 25 pieces of Spanish Elm lumber that were recovered during this operation.
Kadian Cruickshank, senior director of the Legal Services Branch at the Forestry Department, says the conviction is welcomed and hopes it will dissuade others from operating illegally. She encourages others to regularise themselves; otherwise, they risk a similar fate.
“We encourage the public to obtain the requisite licences and permits to avoid prosecution. Sawmill licences are valid for the calendar year in which they are granted and as such, persons are encouraged to commence the application process before January of each year so they will have the full 12 months to use their licences,” said Cruickshank.
The Forestry Department issues licences to operate sawmills and to cut or extract timber or forest produce. Permits are needed for the use of the forest road, to remove timber or forest produce, to use and/or transport a power saw, and to use or light an open fire or charcoal kiln in forest estates.
Taylor breached Regulation 25(1)(a) of the Forest Regulations, which states: “No person shall without a valid licence or permit for the licence and purpose approved by the conservator pursuant to Section 28 of the permit Act and to this Regulation – (a) drive, transport or use in any place a sawmill of any type or make…”
A person who contravenes any of the provisions of Regulation 24, 25…commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction before a resident magistrate to a fine not exceeding $50,000, and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year (Regulation 39).
Taylor was advised by the agency to obtain a sawmill licence for his chainsaw to prevent future prosecution.
In the meantime, the Forestry Department encourages the public to report suspicious activity in forested areas to the Forestry Department by calling (876) 618-3205 or the nearest police station.