Since 2008, Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin has exported 35 832 cubic metres of logs while since 2012, Indian logging company Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc (VHPI) has exported 15 190 cubic metres of logs, according to data supplied yesterday by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
As a measure of comparison, log exports for the first half of this year amounted to 54 376 cubic metres compared to 30 356 cubic metres for the same period last year.
Over the period of their operations, the two companies also committed infractions, which according to the GFC, “mainly cover procedural breaches and are common across large concession.” The infractions include completion of removal documentation, direction felling, skid trail alignment, log tracking specific to declaration of species name, and full completion of transshipment and check in-transit documentation.
The GFC has come under severe criticism in recent weeks over the operations of Bai Shan Lin and Vaitarna and on Monday, it defended the operations of the two firms and said that only “minor infractions” were recorded against the two companies.
“We have absolutely nothing to hide,” GFC commissioner James Singh told a news conference at the GFC head office on Monday which came after days of media reports focused on the logging operations of the two firms and their failure to fulfill commitments to undertake value-added processing in Guyana as well as controversy over wood products exports claims made by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh.
The GFC commissioner defended his stewardship of the forestry sector but despite saying that two years was reasonable time in which wood processing should start, acknowledged that several operators were way behind and Jaling and another have been warned.