The local Environmental Community Health Organization (ECHO) has warned Chinese company Bai Shan Ling to cease all its logging operations being conducted in the country’s interior region or face legal intervention.
ECHO which is headed by Mr. Royston King is demanding the company’s operations to cease until it can be verified that it is operating within the ambit of the law.
The law office of Moore, Harmon, Sobers and Gaskin yesterday dispatched the letter to the company’s Corporate Secretary and local head explaining that the environmental group is dissatisfied with the manner in which the logging activity is being conducted and sees harm being done to the local eco-system.
The letter by Attorney-at-law Leslie Sobers said that (ECHO) has requested him to do all things necessary concerning the operations of the company as it relates to the extraction of logs and other timber resources from within the interior of Guyana and the country as a whole.
“We have been instructed that your company has embarked upon a course of conduct whereby large quantities of this country’s forest resources in the form of logs, dressed and undressed timber of several varieties have been and continue to be exported by your company contrary to the licence granted to your company for the purpose of exploration.”
“Our client further instructs us that your company’s logging operations are of such a magnitude that it raises concerns about the impact such activities are having or are likely to have upon the ecology and biodiversity of this country’s standing forest, and further as to whether any proper Environmental Impact Assessment was done in relation to your operations and in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act of Guyana, and further whether any meaningful broad-based consultations and public engagements were conducted by your company in keeping with the said Environmental Protection Act.”
“In view of these concerns our client has instructed us to call upon your company, to immediately cease operations at all locations under the control of Bai Shan Lin Inc. whether operating under another registered name but which is a subsidiary of your company or in which your company has an interest or contractual engagement, that is to say; in the form of felling, cutting, dressing, extracting, or otherwise removing any forest resource of Guyana until it can be established that your company is operating in accordance with the laws of Guyana and with consideration for sustainable operations in the extraction and processing of this country’s forest resources.”
“Take notice that should you fail, refuse and/or neglect to comply with this demand our client has instructed us to take further steps to ensure your company’s compliance with the same.”
During recent weeks, this newspaper has unearthed massive logging operations being conducted by the Chinese company in parts of the country’s interior. This is despite Bai Shan Lin being granted permission by the authorities to only conduct exploratory activities.
ECHO has been in Guyana since 2006 and is located at 185 Charlotte Street, Lacytown. The agency has environmental clubs within primary schools and ECHO teams in various communities across the country, offering educational programmes and projects to foster environmental protection awareness.
Following the revelations by this newspaper, ECHO hosted two protest actions; one at the office of the Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud and the other at the Guyana Forestry Commission. A public forum was also held at the National Library last Friday where local and public presenters discussed the effects of the indiscriminate logging.
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