The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) is expected to soon request that Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud disclose all information regarding the local operations of Bai Shan Lin.
This follows an emergency meeting the Association called Monday in the face of a growing controversy regarding the Chinese company’s operations.
A letter which outlined the association’s concerns was dispatched to members for their comments before it is sent to Persaud. The letter is signed by GMSA President Clinton Williams.
Kaieteur News was told that during the emergency meeting members mandated Williams to acquire documentation about several aspects of the operations of Bai Shan Lin.
This newspaper understands that members are trying to get their hands on copies of licences and permits to engage in forestry operations in Guyana, investment agreements, Tax Holiday approvals, Duty-free concessions, and agreements which allow the company to export log. The manufacturers also want to see documents that the company and the authorities have agreed to for the employment of Guyanese personnel.
According to reports, members have said that they are aware that Bai Shan Lin has entered into private agreements with existing local and foreign forest products concessionaires. The letter stated that while the ministry may not be privy to the agreements, they would go a long way, together with the documents they requested, towards helping the Association determine the way forward for the country’s forest/wood products manufacturers.
In this regard, members said that they would appreciate receiving the relevant particulars of all agreements entered into by the Company or any of its related companies with the holders of licences or permits from the Minister. It was noted that access to these documents will allow the GMSA to determine that the agreements are iron-clad and are not in violation of any of the nation’s laws and regulations, including environmental protection
Secondly, it would show that they do not contain loop holes through which the investor could dodge their business and social responsibilities to the people of Guyana. Moreover the release of documents would show that the agreements do not provide the wherewithal for the investor to act in a manner that goes against the tenets of Guyana’s responsibilities to the international REDD+ programme or our Low Carbon Development Strategy, the letter states.
The GMSA, in crafting the letter to Persaud, said it wants to ensure that the country’s reputation as a destination of Foreign Direct Investment is not harmed by any unjustified criticisms of any specific investment or group of investments.
The GMSA will be meeting again on Monday to further consider the matter and the Association hopes it can have the requested documents by then.
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