The deal under which the Chinese forestry company Bai Shan Lin is building a car-park for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) reeks of impropriety and should be terminated, according to the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA).
The disclosure of the deal was made following queries by Stabroek News with the GRA.
In a statement today, the GHRA said that the arrangement along the Lamaha Street embankment is yet another revealing insight into the “ethical confusion” around decision-making in Guyana.
The GHRA said that much of the background to the GRA’s occupancy of its new premises on Camp Street is puzzling.
“What, in the first place, possessed the GRA to rent an apartment building reportedly for some G$10mn. per month that also required G$227mn. to convert into an office block and has no parking space. Given that the building was rented from the NIS, which inherited it as a result of what proved to be reckless investment in the failed Trinidadian financial conglomerate Clico, the answer to that question would seem to involve further murkiness”, the GHRA asserted.
GHRA noted that the parking issue wasn’t an oversight. GRA had estimated that it required over 500 parking spaces on a daily basis. Furthermore, six months ago the Ministry of Works notified the public that the Government had scrapped plans for the GRA to use the Lamaha Reserve as a car park.
“Sifting through the Commissioner of (GRA’s) various and varying statements about the exact nature of the deal between the GRA and BSL, it is clear that the GRA were benefitting in some shape or form from BSL in a manner that went beyond a normal commercial arrangement.
“References to being ‘good corporate citizens’ and ‘giving back for the benefits they received for their investments’ all point in this direction.
“Bai Shan Lin, in the short time they have been operating in Guyana, have shown themselves to be anything but good corporate citizens in Region 10, and it is disturbing to learn they are expanding their interests into construction. This company left Suriname under questionable circumstances. The environmental record of Chinese companies globally is appalling. Yet, despite knowing all of this, BSL has put together a one million hectare timber and mining concession in an area only accessible by a road the company itself is now constructing. Rather than cozying up to companies of this nature, the GRA should be keeping them at arms’ length and under strict surveillance”, GHRA asserted.