…wants public to believe only two containers of logs exported daily
While it is for the courts to interpret the laws of Guyana, Commissioner of Forests, James Singh, in an attempt to defend
Bai Shan Lin’s exportation of logs out of Guyana seems to have misrepresented it.
Singh, in response to an article carried by this publication, said that “Bai Shan Lin has two State Forest Exploratory Permits (SFEP’s); Section 9 (2) (b) of the Forests Act 2009 allows for the harvesting of forest produce from SFEP’s for limited commercial purposes and BSL can then export this produce in log form if it so chooses, in accordance with the National Log Export Policy.”
That section of the law however does not explicitly permit exportation and further limits the commercial activities related to any logs harvested under the permit.
Section 9 (2) (b) of the Forests Act 2009 states: “The Commission may on application grant an exploratory permit to any person –to cut and take specified kinds and quantities of forest produce from the exploratory area for testing, research and limited commercial purposes to the extent necessary to recoup no more than the appointed percentage of costs and expenses (excluding capital expenditure) incurred in the exploratory operations during the life of the permit.”
This essentially means that Bai Shan Lin can engage in commercial activity with logs harvested to recover a percentage of its expenses related to exploring its concessions and not its actual investment.
It also means that Bai Shan Lin is limited to specified types of wood with which it can undertake any commercial activity.
What the company is instead doing is harvesting woods of every type, trucking and shipping them out of the interior and
exporting them on a massive scale.
This has been the case since 2007, under the tenure of the then President Bharrat Jagdeo.
It must be noted, too, that the permit allows Bai Shan Lin to recover exploratory costs only from the concession it has but the company has been exporting logs from concessions owned by other people.
Singh in his response to this publication’s report on the activities of Bai Shan Lin, had also said that contrary to the false impression portrayed, Bai Shan Lin and its joint venture partners have exported a total of 375 containers for the period January – June 2014.
This claim by the Commissioner of Forests would mean that for the 181 days he referred to, only two containers of logs were shipped daily, not only by Bai Shan Lin but its partners with whom it has entered into joint venture arrangements.
Contrary to the assertions made by Singh, on Wednesday alone there were 24 containers of logs on the public road at the John Fernandes container terminal ready for shipment.
This is in addition to the numerous trucks witnessed by a team from this newspaper coming out from Kwakwani heading to Georgetown.
Residents of Kwakwani estimate that no less than 30 container trucks belonging to Bai Shan Lin pass through the streets of
their community daily.
Region Ten Chairman, Sharma Solomon, has estimated the figures upwards, to an average of 50 trucks within a 24-hour period.
Critics have observed that Singh in his response to Kaieteur News failed to mention one word about Bai Shan Lin using boats to ship out lumber.
Some are even questioning whether he is even aware that the company is using freighters to ship out logs.
This publication, when it reported on the 24 containers outside the John Fernandes facility to which Singh responded, had reported on a limited number of companies with whom Bai Shan Lin had entered into joint venture arrangements.
This publication subsequently learnt that the Region where the majority of the logging is taking place is unable to track the number of Bai Shan Lin’s partners or the amount of land under its control.
Regional Chairman, Solomon, subsequently told this publication that it is difficult to ascertain the concessions under which Bai Shan Lin is operating, given that outside of what is registered officially at the Guyana Forestry Commission “there is a new arrangement that exists in the Region now where many associations and many loggers with concessions are in essence, sub-leasing.”
According to Solomon, there is a lot of intertwining of the holders of concessions and those who are
exploiting the concessions. He noted too that many of those who would have collaborated with companies such as Bai Shan Lin are not reaping the benefits they would have signed on to.
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