Jul 18, 2008 News
…accusations fly about misinformation
The Guyana Forestry Commission has lashed out against the Forest Products Association (FPA) accusing them of a deliberately attempting to misinform the public about the commission’s move to close the harvesting operations of Toolsie Persaud Limited.
In a statement issued yesterday, the FPA stated that the announcement by TPL for the closure of its forestry operations is as a result of GFC refusing to facilitate the operation of its concession by the company under its Timber Sales Agreement (TSA).
This, according to the FPA, is in spite of a Court Order prohibiting the Commission from closing the company’s harvesting operations.
“It has come to the attention of the FPA that, in spite of the Court’s ruling, the Commissioner of Forests has prevented the company from resuming harvesting of its concession by delaying inspection of the company’s inventory enumeration for over a week, forcing the company to demobilise over 150 of its workers, close its operations and shutdown its sawmilling facilities,” the FPA said.
Responding to the release, GFC last evening said that the facts clearly refute the misinformation contained in the FPA press release, which seeks to ‘mislead’ the general public into ‘believing that the GFC is acting in contravention’ of a court order and is ‘somehow responsible’ for TPL closure of its forestry operations, including the sawmilling facilities.
On April 23 last, the GFC closed the harvesting operations of TPL for breaches which the company had accepted liability.
Yesterday, the FPA stated that it was found that where the GFC had accused the company of being in breach of its harvesting agreement for harvesting without prior submission of inventories, the Commission had permitted the removal of the alleged illegal timber.
At the same time, the FPA noted, the commission collected fees and royalties and authorized all of the required documentation for shipment of the timber alleged to have been illegally harvested.
But according to the GFC, the breaches were discovered during a routine post harvest audit of the TPL operations in 2007.
Based of the findings of 2007, the GFC said, it has implemented more intensive monitoring programmes, which have already resulted in one large company being found in breach of procedures in February 2008.
Kaieteur News was told on Tuesday that the GFC will be withdrawing its case against TPL today in the Court of Appeal.
This will make way for the execution of an earlier order granted by Chief Justice Ian Chang.
The CJ had ruled on June 30 last that the GFC withdraw its closure notice directed to TPL.
As a consequence, GFC had filed an appeal along with a stay of the execution of the Chief Justice’s order.
The decision to withdraw the case came on the heels of a decision by TPL to close its forestry operations at Manaka, and sawmilling operations on Lombard Street.
TPL moved to the court in April to stop the Forestry Commission from enforcing a stop order on its Timber Sales Agreement.
The company went to the court to disallow the commission from collecting an $80M fine for reported breaches in harvesting regulations.
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