Environmental group pickets Natural Resources Ministry over Bai-shan-lin

Environmental group pickets Natural Resources Ministry over Bai-shan-lin

As the Bai-Shan-Lin company comes under more scrutiny for its operations in the Guyana forestry sector, the Environmental Community Health Organisation (ECHO) wants a full independent investigations into the operations of the company and the impact the company’s operations is having on the local forestry sector.

Bai-shan-Lin is one of the largest exporters of Guyanese lumber and concern has been raised recently about the large-scale of the company’s operations and whether the Laws of Guyana are being followed with regard to the environment and the forestry sector.

Members of ECHO on Thursday hosted a midday picketing exercise outside the Ministry of Natural Resources, calling for the Minister of Natural Resource, Robert Persaud, to “come clean” on the scale of Bai-shan-lin’s operations and the real impact of the operations on the local forestry sector and the environment. 10602643_10152610294827604_2139586802_n

Executive Director of ECHO, Royston King, told News Source that it is time for a full probe of Bai-shan-lin. He said “we are calling on the Government and those who are in authority to launch an independent investigation and we are calling on the company to exercise better social responsibility within the forestry sector”.

According to King, the Chinese company may have broken several of the laws of Guyana that cover the forestry sector and the extractive industry. He said even China has its own guidelines for the way Chinese companies should operate their businesses in other countries especially in the extractive industries. King said he is “not too sure” whether Bai-shan-lin is even aware of those guidelines.

The Environmentalist explained that the Government of Guyana must take serious, its duty to protect the environment even if it is pushing major investment. He said Guyana’s forest resources cannot be sacrificed in the name of investment.

The Bai-shan-lin company has come under scrutiny from a number of groups and the media over its large-scale operations. The Kaieteur News has been at the forefront of highlighting the impact of the company’s involvement in the sector.

The newspaper recently conducted a flyover of the operations of he company in Region 10 and that video shows acres upon acres of land being used by the company to carry out large-scale exportation of lumber. In some cases, the lumber would be loaded  on to a vessel and not in containers.

On Wednesday evening, the company issued a 4 page statement in response to the Kaeiteur News revelations. In that statement, Bai-shan-lin said the company “will continue to look at investment opportunities in Guyana, that will contribute to the economic development of this country following all required national laws and policies.  We are prepared to inject the necessary capital and skills to make this a reality.  It is regrettable that these efforts are not being represented in a fair manner and the genuine actions by the Company to contribute positively to Guyana’s development has been misrepresented”.

The company dodged away form the reports of its more than large-scale operations in the forestry sector.

(14th August, 2014)

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