– manufacturing association holds emergency meeting on Bai Shan Lin
The exposure of the Bai Shan Lin logging activities in Guyana has led to more revelations.
On Monday, during a fly over by Kaieteur News of the Linden/Ituni/Kwakwani trail in Region 10, several logging activities were in progress. At a location between Ituni and Kwakwani, and not far from Aroaima Mining Company, two container trucks were being loaded. The logs were strictly of the prime Wamara species which is in hot demand by especially Chinese companies.
A young Chinese national was on the ground overseeing the packing of the logs into the containers by the loader. When asked if he was part of the Bai Shan Lin group, he smiled and in a jovial manner said, “No…no…me company have own business.”
When further questioned, he disclosed that his company is shipping at least 10 containers per month. He gladly gave his name as “Cly”.
According to “Cly”, his operation is concentrating only on Wamara, a wood that is renowned for its exotic-looking flooring, walls and furniture.
Some of the logs on the ground were marked with official looking numbers but without the tags of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). The ones in the containers had tags, though.
According to “Cly”, there are other Chinese companies scattered across Guyana and involved in gold mining also.
There have been growing questions over the extent of logging activities in Guyana with the glare of the spotlight falling on Bai Shan Lin a few weeks ago after a Parliamentary Committee questioned Government about the arrangements.
Figures indicate a more than 50 per cent increase in exports of forest products for the first half of the year as compared to 2013, despite a significant hike in the tax and royalties being charged by GFC.
Earlier this week, huge piles of logs and significant activities were seen at Bai Shan Lin locations in Kwakwani, Upper Berbice River in Region 10.
The activities are being described as unprecedented in terms of the level of equipment being used and the number of logs – Wamara and Purpleheart being the preferred choices- that are being harvested.
The situation triggered alarm with the members of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GM&SA) holding an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the issue.
The association’s members include operators in the forestry sector.
GM&SA’s President, Clinton Williams, who also chairs the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, has now been tasked with preparing a letter to President Donald Ramotar, asking for copies of the investment agreement with Bai Shan Lin to be released.
Among other things, GM&SA members want to know details of Bai Shan Lin’s joint ventures with companies and other parties that are in possession of forestry concessions.
Government will also be requested to submit details of log exports by Bai Shan Lin for the last five years.
Kaieteur News was told that the members want the letter to be sent as soon as possible to the President in light of the revelations.
In addition to Bai Shan Lin, there is a company called Rong-An Inc, which is also a Chinese company and Vaitarna Holdings, an Indian-owned operator that has been exporting logs too.
GFC Commissioner, James Singh, last week, following the publications of damning photos of Bai Shan Lin operations, claimed that the Chinese company had only exported 375 containers between January and June. This translated to an average of two containers per day.
However, industry insiders and residents alike have refuted this saying it is more like 20 per day.
Bai Shan Lin, from all indications, has been using third parties to export, to mask the true extent of its logging operations. The company has since released what it claims to be details of its investment and its operations in Guyana.
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