Forestry Division Commences Training for 28 New Game Wardens
On Friday July 16th, the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF), commenced a theoretical and practical training exercise for some twenty-eight (28), newly recruited Game Wardens (Game Warden I). The three-week training and orientation sessions focusses on the key areas of the Conservation of Wildlife Act; Forest Act and Sawmill Act; the Public Service Regulations; Accident and Emergency Training & First Aid; Introduction to Illegal Wildlife Trade; Crime Scene Processing; Wilderness Survival; Search Warrant Planning; Handling and Capture of Wildlife; Health and Safety Legislation (including workplace and Covid-19 protocols); Veterinary Services; Self-Defense Training; the Forest Act and Offence Procedures; Interviewing and Interrogation; Case Management and Undercover Operations.
In addition, the newly installed Game Wardens will also participate in a series of field trips to various parks, wildlife and protected areas, where they would be able to identify and fully understand environmentally sensitive species, their activities and habitats.
The twenty-eight (28) Game Wardens will bolster the Ministry’s staff compliment at the Forestry Division across its six (6) Conservancies in Trinidad, including the Wildlife Section and National Parks. Their responsibilities will include- conducting mobile, boat and foot patrols in assigned areas; arresting and prosecuting offenders; securing exhibits and arranging for forensic analysis; conducting inspections of pet shops and protected animals that are kept as pets; the issuance of summons as well as the execution of educational programmes / sensitisation activities.
Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ms. Susan Shurland, reminded Game Wardens that the most important aspect of their job scope was the rule of law for which they had the ultimate responsibility to be most familiar with both as the guardians of the nation’s conservation efforts as well as the protectors of our wildlife and biodiversity. She said: “I am happy that you have been positioned in the Ministry at this very crucial time. This job will require you to be on the field a lot and it will be incumbent on you to be safe in your interactions with the external environment which can be quite harsh having regard to the many challenges associated with law enforcement. We depend on our wildlife for the sustenance of our ecosystem and so the quality of your performance will determine the extent to which this precious resource can be safeguarded.” Ms. Shurland also shared with the new employees, the value of: fostering healthy interpersonal relationships; diplomacy and; accountability, the latter of which she said was analogous to honesty, integrity and sound leadership.
Similarly, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ms. Coomarie Goolabsingh, shared with the Game Warden I’s, her own expectations of them which was, quite simply, that they conduct themselves in such a manner so as to not bring the Civil Service into disrepute (Civil Service Regulation 134). To this end, she stressed on the need for them to act within the scope of their respective parameters at all times and where uncertain, to seek the guidance / instruction of the relevant supervisors / reporting officers, before taking action.
In welcoming the new Game Wardens, Conservator of Forests and Chief Game Warden, Mr. Denny Dipchansingh, lauded the efforts of MALF’s Acting Permanent Secretary (Shurland) and Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (Goolabsingh), whom he said had been working assiduously behind the scenes, to secure the appointments of these officers which he cited as both an unprecedented feat and as something which has no doubt, boosted the overall morale of the Forestry Division. “An entire cadre of Game Wardens has been appointed for the very first time in the Ministry and that means a lot to us at the Forestry Division”, he said.
Mr. Dipchansingh advised the new Game Wardens of their responsibilities as law enforcement officers and in particular, of their need to: practice full disclosure; have integrity and; be professional in their dealings with the public.
The training exercise concludes on Friday 6th August, 2021.