The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), facing a shortage of operating cash, has decided to allocate concessions it had seized from Chinese investor, BaiShanLin.
Yesterday, Commissioner (ag), Gavin Agard, announced the GFC’s intentions to advertise and received applications for the allocation of State Forest Authorisations (SFAs) and State Forests Exploratory Permits (SFEPs) over a number of areas.
The areas include concessions formerly held by Kwebanna Wood Products Inc, Woods Associated Industries Company Ltd, Baishanlin International Inc, Puruni Wood Products Inc and Haimorakabra Logging Company Inc.
:The decision to advertise these areas is premised on the fact that the GFC had revoked the above forest concessions because of serious breaches of the Forests Act 2009 and in the case of Barama Company Ltd the forest concession was surrendered.”
Agard explained that the seizures affected the revenue performance of the GFC, especially over the last three years.
“To this end, the Board of Directors, Guyana Forestry Commission – at its last statutory meeting held on 30th December, 2019, by way of resolution, expressed its no objection to the areas being advertised for re-allocation.”
The Commission said that more information is available on its website: www.forestry.gov.gy
GFC is currently in a reform mode, after complaining that its cash reserves had dwindled amid a number of questions loans and increased cost for monitoring.
It was announced in 2016 that GFC was moving to repossess over 600,000 hectares from BaiShanLin International Forest Development Inc., a Chinese logging company that had been under fire for its operations here.
The news of the concession seizures came as the commission continued to assess the operations of a number of large concession holders to ensure that they were in keeping with regulations and that commitments made in agreements were being honoured.
According to GFC, the decision was taken after the cash-strapped BaiShanLin failed to deliver on agreed actions to introduce investors to the commission and failing, despite being given time, to prove that it had an acceptable plan to clear an approximately $80M debt.
It was announced earlier that year that BaiShanLin’s partner, Long Jiang Forest Industries Group, was set to take over management of the company in Guyana after it became clear that monies had dried up for the company that had over-extended itself in too many sectors.
BaiShanLin was not only involved in logging and exports. It had also branched off to gold mining, housing, river transportation, ship building and even property acquisition.
Several of the ventures, including its unfinished luxury homes and a mall, would tell a stark tale of an investment that went all too wrong…all too quickly. The company was even accused of burning down a large swath of forest up the Berbice River and never reporting it.
It owed the government of Guyana hundreds of millions of dollars for properties it bought.
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