Residents of Sub Region 2 of Region 10, which includes Kwakwani and Ituni, will meet with the Regional Democratic Council on Tuesday for discussions on the operations of Bai Shan Lin.
Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon, disclosed that the RDC wants to meet with “those who are benefitting and suffering” as a result of the operations of Bai Shan Lin and other Asian logging companies who are extracting resources from that Sub Region.
In an interview with this newspaper, Solomon said that his job is to act in the best interest of all residents of Region 10 and he plans to do so without fear.
He however noted that he wishes not to get into “the Chairman say, Bai Shan Lin say” kind of situation, hence the RDC seeks to keep up to date with the position of the people, get the facts and strategize a way forward.
Solomon said he has very little interest in the “academic argument” which is premised on a thought that Bai Shan Lin is good for Guyana.
He said all he wants to know is that the masses can benefit. “If it is so good for the country then why it is that the people who should be benefiting are just being inconvenienced with no compensation or consolation?”
In a previous interview, Solomon had said that investments in Region 10 must be mutually beneficial, but this is not the case with Bai Shan Lin. He said that instead, the Asian company is raping the Region of its resources through massive exploitation.
Solomon bemoaned what has been transpiring in the Region in recent years, as it relates to the logging company.
The Chairman told this publication that over 60 per cent of logging done in Guyana comes through or is from Region 10.
Bai Shan Lin is now the largest logging operator in the country and according to Solomon, most of its logging is conducted in Region 10.
According to Solomon, the company has massively expanded its operations, and to date, an Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has not been done, despite repeated requests by the Region.
“They (Bai Shan Lin) are far advanced in their operations and they have still not done an ESIA to see what impact they have on the people in the Region.”
Another source of lamentation over the company has been its compliance with set regulations.
Solomon had used as example the processing plant that the company has established along the Soesdyke/ Linden Highway and without compliance from any statutory agency, the company removed over 47,000 tonnes of loam to build the base of the plant, “in the process destroying and disrupting the lives of the people of Moblissa.”
According to Solomon, in the process of building the plant, the company completely destroyed the farm to market road, and it was only when the people threatened to shut down the company that any action was taken.
Solomon said, too, that the Region is still extremely concerned that to date the statutory agencies that should be certifying the actions of Bai Shan Lin may not be doing so.
The statutory bodies that Solomon is referring to, include the Guyana Forestry Commission, Lands and Surveys, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissions among others.
Solomon said that Bai Shan Lin and the other loggers using the road are destroying it, and when they are approached to assist in repairing it, the companies insist that they already pay royalties and taxes to Government.
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