GFC defends forest management track record

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Commissioner of Forest, James Singh.
Commissioner of GFC, James Singh.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following several articles in the media regarding the operation and management of Guyana’s forest resources, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) today reiterated that it has very robust and functional systems, procedures and guidelines.

In a video release posted on Youtube, the GFC says all forest sector companies are audited; if there are any breaches, appropriate action is taken based on the findings of a thorough investigation and in accordance with the forest law.

Claims that Bai Shan Lin (BSL) does not have an actual license for the exportation of logs are simply not factual, according to the GFC. BSL has two State Forest Exploratory Permits (SFEP’s); Section 9 (2) (b) of the Forests Act 2009 allows for the harvesting of forest produce from SFEP’s for limited commercial purposes and BSL can then export this produce in log form if it so chooses, in accordance with the National Log Export Policy, he clarified.

The Youtube release also refuted another incorrect assertion where it was alleged that “BSL has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close to one million hectares of rainforest”.

According to the Commission, BSL has legal access to 627,072 ha: 344,849 ha as State Forest Exploratory Permits (SFEP’s); 274,053 ha as Timber Sales Agreement Joint Venture Agreements; and 8,170 ha as State Forest Permissions.

Meanwhile, Bai Shan Lin in a press statement noted that the Company began operating in Guyana since 2007. Over the period 2011 – 2013, the Company applied through the GFC’s forest allocation process and has been granted 2 State Forest Exploratory Permit (344,849 hectares).

Additionally, the Company has established, following discussions with an approval by the GFC, cooperation agreements with local companies currently involved in the forest sector (Joint Ventures).logging

In some cases, BSL stated that Joint Venture partners were not meeting the maximum sustainable level of harvest that was allocated by the GFC.

iNews understands that through the various partnership arrangements, BSL has invested substantial financial and capital resources into these operations. This investment includes road construction and rehabilitation, harvesting and trucking equipment, and human resources.

BSL says it has applied to the Government of Guyana through GoInvest and other agencies to lease lands to set up a factory to process logs and engage in value added production, such as the making of furniture, craft and hardwood flooring.

BSL noted that it was granted that lease for the construction of our processing plan 4 years after application.   The lease is around 200 acres of lands located in Region 10. For strategic reasons we would have preferred lands closer to port Georgetown but the Government insisted that the factory be set up in region 10 to provide employment to the people of Linden. BSL further stated that its Company is committed to fulfilling its social responsibility to the people of Linden and its environs.

Bai Shan Lin maintains that it 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.

To view the YouTube video, click on the following link: http://www.nre.gov.gy/Setting%20the%20Record%20Straight%20on%20the%20Forestry%20Sector%20-%20the%20Bai%20Shan%20Lin%20Investment.%20August%2013%202014.html

 

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