– Company moves like thieves in the night- Residents
The largest logging company in Guyana, Bai Shan Lin, is doing way more than the public knows and is doing so without the permission of relevant authorities.
This newspaper paid a visit to Kwakwani, Region Ten, and found that—in the words of a Kwakwani resident—Bai Shan Lin is “taking all it can get and using every way dem can think of to carry lumber out of this country.”
On the journey to Kwakwani, Kaieteur News noticed a number of loaded trucks, carrying Bai Shan Lin’s logo, making their way to Georgetown. Then there were 24 containers of logs that were shown on the front page of this newspaper Thursday August 7 edition as they waited to be exported.
But when Kaieteur News finally arrived at Kwakwani Waterfront, something else was discovered.
A short distance from Edward’s Crossing, was a freighter already loaded with logs ready to be shipped. On land, just beside where the vessel was anchored, lay hundreds of logs that were already marked and ready to be shipped.
Information received is that Bai Shan Lin, in addition to the numerous containers of logs it sends out every day, uses that vessel to export the merchandise.
Caption for video above: A Chinese freighter already loaded with logs in the Berbice River at Kwakwani. On land, just beside where the vessel was anchored, lay hundreds of logs that were already marked and ready to be shipped
The vessel is named Yuan Heng Freighter. Kaieteur News was told that when one boat goes another comes, and so it rotates.
Residents of Kwakwani estimated that no less than 30 container trucks pass through the streets of their community daily. But a worker at the toll booth of Edward’s Crossing told this newspaper different. One person said that 12 trucks pass daily while another said it was about 15.
Kaieteur News has been told that each truck has a toll cost of $50,000.
Residents said that about 10 to 15 trucks pass out through the day, but explained that the greater amount, as many as twice that amount, would leave in the night.
“They move like real thieves in the night. Every religious night when you sleeping you does hear dem passing through, one after de other. But de sound don’t affect we that much no more, we get accustom to it,” said one resident.
Another resident said, “One thing you can’t stop dem Chinese with; dem does wuk hard. Is nah easy fuh prepare all them logs fuh shipment. You got to cut it, mark it and all duh. Me husband use to wuk with dem. Don’t think is no li’l operation. Dem does cut down everything dem lay eye pon.”
In June, Bai Shan Lin submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking environmental authorization to undertake a large scale logging and sawmill operation.
Caption for video above: A Bai Shan Lin container truck laden with logs at Kwakwani
According to the public notice, the company asked for the authorization for several areas including the Left Bank Essequibo River, Right Bank Berbice River, Right Bank Essequibo River, Left Bank Corentyne River, Left Bank Lysles River, River Bank Berbice River, and Right Bank Powis River, Regions Nine and Six.
One official from the Guyana Forestry Commission explained that Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development does not have an actual licence for the exportation of logs. What the company has is a Spate Forest Exploration Permit.
Bai Shan Lin was asked before to comply with statutory rules of the relevant agencies. Earlier this year it was found that Bai Shan Lin, even though it is such a major company, did not have the statutory regulatory blessings of Lands and Surveys, Geology and Mines or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Yesterday Kaieteur News confirmed that the EPA has not given Bai Shan Lin permission to operate in the Berbice River. This is the same river that runs through Kwakwani.
Bai Shan Lin has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close to one million hectares of rainforest, from which it plans to extract logs and ship them out of Guyana. The company estimates that it will make US$1,800 from each hectare of land, giving it profits totaling US$1.7 billion, according to redd-monitor.org.
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