[www.inewsguyana.com] – A leading member of the local private sector community has taken strong objections to the Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) rush to judgment in the media concerning Bai Shan Lin’s operations in the forestry sector.
The TIGI, backed by critics of the government including Christopher Ram and Anand Goolsaran, issued a statement last evening stating that “photographs carried by two news outlets are graphic evidence of the extent to which certain unwelcome practices are undertaken at a time when every effort should be made to protect our forests.”
The statement added, “There are conflicting reports whether these companies are permitted to conduct logging operations and to export the logs under the terms and conditions of their respective contracts with the Government. It is also unclear whether their operations are in conformity with our laws, specifically the Guyana Forestry Commission Act and the Environmental Protection Act.”
The TIGI says it “finds it particularly troubling that both the Ministry of National Resources and the Guyana Forestry Commission have chosen to defend the operations of these companies with information that appears incomplete and misleading rather than to seek to protect the patrimony of the country.”
TIGI is urging Government to make available publicly the contracts entered into with the two overseas companies, Bai Shan Lin and Vaitarna. In addition, in view of the public outrage at the extent to which these two companies are exploiting our forests resources, TIGI also calls on the Government to place a halt on their operations.”
An official from the Guyana Forestry Commission rejected TIGI’s accusation, challenging the institute to point out where misleading and incorrect information was supplied.
“All information was provided not only to the media and other interest groups, but no question was left unanswered at the level of the Parliamentary Sectoral committee on Natural resources as late as last month.”
The GFC official made it clear that it was not defending nor will defend any company in breach of the laws of the country.
”There is no evidence of breaches or even conduct not permitted under regulations,” added the GFC officer.
“The facts and records will show the GFC aggressiveness and consistency in regulating activities in the forestry sector which is further oversight by international bodies.”
The private sector representative also told iNews that there is now a new trend where “without facts and evidence, there is a public trial and guilty verdict ruled by certain media entities and the opposition of major investment projects in Guyana.”
Yesterday, President Donald Ramotar pointed to the on-going campaign against major investments in Guyana. He further noted the particular anti-Chinese campaign by the opposition and certain media figures.