Even though Chinese Logging Company Bai Shan Lin in a full page advertisement last Thursday claims to be creating jobs and contributing to Guyana, it has not been up to date in its NIS and PAYE payments.
Checks revealed that the company, Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development which was registered in 2007 only started paying NIS and PAYE in 2013. Bai Shan Lin Housing and Construction Inc which was registered in 2012 only paid NIS and PAYE in October 2013.
Further checks revealed that Bai Shan Lin Ship Building Inc which was registered in 2012 has never paid NIS or PAYE. Bai Shan Lin Mining Development Inc was registered in August 2013 and has never paid any NIS or PAYE contributions.
The records are a clear contradiction of what the advertisement by Bai Shan Lin claimed. In the advertisement, BSL stated that it is committed to abiding by the laws of Guyana in its execution of work in the forestry sector.
It is unclear whether workers are required to pay their own NIS and PAYE, but the company has not been up to date with payments, one source explained.
The company also claimed that having started operations in Guyana since 2007, it then moved to purchase logs from local concessionaires and entered into joint venture agreements with several.
However even though Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development Inc began local operations in 2007, the records would show something different. The company registered with the Deeds Registry in 2012. Required by law, it submitted financial statements up to August 2014.
Bai Shan Lin International Ship Building and Company Inc was registered around the same time and has submitted financial statements up until 2014.
Indian Logging Company, Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc, has been paying since 2007. But Vaitarna is not registered with the Deeds Registry as a company operating out of Guyana.
Bai Shan Lin, a Chinese logging company, has big plans for Guyana: forest concessions covering 960,000 hectares; a 20-kilometre river gold mining concession; a 500-hectare Guyana-China Timber Industry Economic and Trading Cooperation Park and a 160-hectare real estate development.
Despite the scale of the planned operations, Bai Shan Lin’s agreements with the government of Guyana are not public and there has been no discussion in the National Assembly about the company’s plans.
In Guyana, it is illegal for a logging company to take over another logging company’s operation, unless officially authorized by the President. Yet Bai Shan Lin has managed to enter into large scale joint ventures with a number of locals.
In June, Bai Shan Lin submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking environmental authorization to undertake a large scale logging and sawmill operation.
According to the public notice which was published, the company asked for the authorization for several areas including the Left Bank of the Essequibo River, Right Bank Berbice River, Right Bank Essequibo River, Left Bank Corentyne River, Left Bank Lysles River, River Bank Berbice River and Right Bank Powis River, as well as locations with Regions Nine and Six.
Bai Shan Lin has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close on one million hectares of rainforest, from which it plans to extract logs and ship them out of Guyana. 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, the Chinese company sought permission to dig up a 20-kilometre stretch of river to look for gold.
Other plans include setting up what it is calling 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.
On Redd-monitor.org, it was stated that in November 2012, Chu Wenze, the Chairman of Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin, gave a presentation outlining his company’s plans for Guyana at the World Congress in Taicang, China. These plans have threatened Guyana’s proposals to reduce deforestation and forest degradation.
In November 2012, Whu Wenze and David Dabydeen, Guyana’s Ambassador to China, took part in a signing ceremony for a loan from the Chinese Development Bank for Bai Shan Lin’s forestry projects in Guyana.
According to the website Global Timber, Bai Shan Lin’s concessions were acquired from other concession holders, a process known as “landlording” which is illegal in Guyana (unless officially authorised by the President). Under Guyanese law, forest concessions cannot be traded, but must be re-advertised by the Forestry Commission in an open auction.
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