It has been more than three weeks since the Guyanese public was made aware of the request by the Chinese company, Bai Shanlin, for an extension of two years to deliver on its obligation to establish a wood processing plant here, and thereby halt the continuous rape of our forest resources and the wholesale exploitation of the Guyanese populace through the exportation of logs. The request, as was expected, drew the ire of the ordinary Guyanese who went to the elections with the hope that travesties like these would be brought to a halt, and drew condemnation from the esteemed Professor Clive Thomas.
In a statement put out by the Department of Natural Resources we subsequently learnt that Bai Shanlin was asked to provide the government with information about its proposed business plan and evidence of financing so that their “application can be objectively scrutinised and a decision made about the future of the Company’s operations in Guyana.”
My gut feeling is that Guyanese should not be surprised to wake up to the news that Bai Shanlin would have been granted the extension. Personally I believe that what our government has done is seek to provide an avenue of escape from a potentially bad and unpopular decision (and we have already had too many of these).
Essentially what the government has done, is to ask Bai Shanlin to provide it with the arguments to be put to Guyanese as justification for the decision it wants to make.
From the length of time that Bai Shanlin has been here in Guyana and the numerous requests for extension that were made to the PPP administration, the current government already has at its disposal enough information from which it can make an informed decision. There can be no arguments here about giving Bai Shanlin a fair opportunity to justify its request.