As Kaieteur News continues to expose the wrongdoing of the largest logging company operating in Guyana—Bai Shan Lin—General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Clement Rohee has suggested that the newspaper is doing so out of spite.
Yesterday Rohee hosted his Party’s weekly press conference at Freedom House. At that forum Kaieteur News asked if the PPP is concerned with the operations of Bai Shan Lin as highlighted in the media.
In his response to the question, which he dubbed “loaded,” Rohee said that he has been paying very close attention to the media over the past three months and has “discerned” that Kaieteur News has launched “not only a campaign but a crusade, (he repeated) a crusade against this particular Chinese company.”
Rohee said he cannot understand why this “crusade” was initiated with focus on Bai Shan Lin, and what could have been at the root of all the disclosures.
He pondered, “Is it that they (Kaieteur News) asked Bai Shan Lin for something and Bai Shan Lin refused to give it to them, is it that they tried to cut a deal with Bai Shan Lin and the deal fell through? I don’t know.”
The General Secretary expressed hope that “a very good investigative journalist” with the capability of “digging and digging and digging” will get to the bottom of things and find out what is the “beef” between Kaieteur News and Bai Shan Lin.
He insisted that there “must” be something going on, “something must have gone sour… it seems as if the Kaieteur News is the only media house carrying this crusade of this intense nature…Something is rotten in the Kingdom of Sussex Street.”
Asked if he has any concerns about what Kaieteur News has highlighted about the Chinese company, Rohee’s response was “as far as Kaieteur News and Bai Shan Lin are concerned it seems to me that that is a matter of a different kettle; they should settle their internal problems then we will deal with it after that.”
Recently, Kaieteur News has been very boldly highlighting the operations of Bai Shan Lin.
The logging company is yet to receive a logging licence, but has teamed up with four others in joint ventures to export billions of dollars in timber monthly.
Forestry officials explained that Bai Shan Lin has only a State Forest Exploration Permit.
As part of that permit Bai Shan Lin is required to do an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. The company is also required to do a forestry inventory and business plan which is to be submitted to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
Bai Shan Lin has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close to one million hectares of rainforest.
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.
In addition, it sought permission to dig up a 20-kilometre stretch of river to look for gold.
Other plans include setting up what it is called a Guyana-China Timber Industry Economic and Trading Corporation Park, plus a 400-acre real estate development. The plans were announced in 2012 by Chu Wenze, Chairman of Bai Shan Lin, at the Second World Congress on Timber and Wood Products Trade in Taicang, China.
Those plans were announced even before Guyana knew of it. The country became aware of what was happening only when Bai Shan Lin officials visited Guyana and held discussions with President Donald Ramotar and other Government officials.
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