In a bizarre event yesterday, Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai anxiously signed a “communist” lease agreement with Chinese company, Bai Shan Lin, and the Amerindian village of Hururu.
The lease agreement was not fully negotiated between the Company and the Village at the time cameras were set up for the event. The negotiations took place in full view of the media.
Before signing, Bai Shan Lin wanted the agreement to explicitly state that upon signing it would be able to use the existing wharf in the Village.
Sukhai did not agree, and suggested that the Hururu Village Council could write to the company to say that it could use the existing facilities.
Bai Shan Lin officials hesitated, but the Minister saw nothing unsure about what she was suggesting.
“That will suffice in the communist kind of agreement too,” a giggling Sukhai told the officials.
The Bai Shan Lin representatives were not enthused, with the translator saying they could not see what was so difficult about putting their demand in writing.
The Chinese company negotiated for a while more, as Sukhai made suggestions to the representatives of the Village, including its Toshao.
With Bai Shan Lin officials seeming to be taking too long, Sukhai became impatient and butted in: “Hello, are we signing?”
Sukhai insisted that the lease agreement had nothing to do with use of facilities. She stated that the Village had no problems with the use of the facilities. She gave that commitment for the Village even while saying that the formal permission is needed after consultation with the community’s Bridge Committee and the Village Council.
The agreement sees Bai Shan Lin leasing 27.4 acres of land from the Village of Hururu at $5, 000 an acre. The Company will be allowed to construct a wharf and log pond, along with two buildings, and a parking lot for their equipment and other vehicles. The lease will run for 25 years.
Bai Shan Lin has promised to upgrade 2.5 miles of road, which it will be using, and also to build a sporting facility for youths of the area.
There was uncertainty about when the road project would start and the agreement had to be adjusted during the negotiations which took place in presence of the reporters.
Again, Sukhai took the lead in negotiation for the Amerindian Village, suggesting when the road works should commence and end.
When it came time for the formal ceremony, she then switched to saying it was the Village authorities that made all the decisions.
“They have done all the Amerindian Act required with respect to the negotiation, the engagement, the discussion and the reviews. The other stakeholders were informed and comments were invited.”
In the end, the agreement was signed with an undertaking that the Village Council will write the company on the use of existing facilities, and with the company agreeing to commence road works within two weeks.
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