– We need to see the contract between the company and government- APNU
While word on the street is that “our Champion of the earth (former President, Bharrat Jagdeo) has failed us,” the opposition vows to continue trying its best to scrutinize the “shady deals” being made by the government resulting in the
vulnerability of Guyana.
This pledge of continued scrutiny was made yesterday by Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), David Granger at a Party Press Conference held at Congress Place. (PNC/R is the major player in the coalition; A Partnership for National Unity.)
Granger was at the time responding to a question posed by this newspaper on the recent revelations about Guyana’s largest logging company-Bai Shan Lin.
Over the past two days, this newspaper has carried articles informing about the magnitude of logs Bai Shan Lin exports out of Guyana on a daily basis.
Granger said that it certainly seems as if there is a back seat driver in the vehicle of the deal.
He added that his Party is of the opinion that there is a shadowy influence over President Donald Ramotar who seems to be extremely committed to several projects which he inherited from his predecessor.
The politician said that while his Party does not have much evidence on the matter, “we are deeply concerned with the behavior of some foreign companies operating in Guyana.”
Granger added that they will continue to scrutinize, through the National Assembly and advisors, the behavior and performance of these companies.
The Party leader said that from what he saw in the press, it is clear that Bai Shan Lin has crossed certain boundaries.
He added that the activities being perpetuated by the company may very well be in contradiction with the laws of Guyana.
Also, Chairman of the Party, Basil Williams said that the contract between the Government and Bai Shan Lin must be made available.
He said that that will answer all outstanding questions.
This newspaper paid a visit to Kwakwani, Region Ten, on Wednesday, and found that in addition to the numerous containers of logs that Bai Shan Lin ships out the country on a daily basis, freighters loaded with logs are taken out from Kwakwani as well.
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 on the Thursday August 7 edition as they waited to be exported.
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 uses that vessel to export the merchandise.
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.
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.
According to the public notice, the company asked for the authorization for several areas.
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 State 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 did not have the statutory regulatory blessings of Lands and Surveys, Geology and Mines or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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 extracts 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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