in Guyana

Above the law: How Chinese logging firm Bai Shan Lin operates in Guyana, with the support of Bharrat Jagdeo

In November 2012, Chu Wenze, the chairman of Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin, gave a presentation outlining his company’s plans for Guyana at the 2nd World Congress on Timber & Wood Products Trade in Taicang, China. The company’s plans expose Guyana’s proposals to reduce deforestation and forest degradation as a bunch of lies.

Bai Shan Lin is part of a group of 11 companies operating in Guyana. They are all part of the China Forest Industry Group (Hong Kong). These companies have seven logging concessions in Guyana, covering a total area of 960,000 hectares (about 4.5% of the area of the country).

In November 2012, Whu Wenze and David Dabydeen, Guyana’s Ambassador to China, took part in a signing ceremony for a loan from the Chinese Development Bank for Bai Shan Lin’s forestry projects in Guyana.

According to Chu Wenze’s presentation, the company hopes to make a profit of US$1,800 per hectare from its logging concession in Guyana, giving a total profit of US$1.7 billion. The presentation is available here (pdf file, 2.4 MB).

The company’s concessions are illustrated in one of the slides in Chu Wenze’s presentation:

According to the website Global Timber, these concessions were taken over from other concession holders, a process known as “landlording” which is illegal in Guyana (unless officially authorised by the President). Under Guyanese law, forest concessions cannot be traded, but must be re-advertised by the Forestry Commission in an open auction.

Last week, Bai Shan Lin ignored a cease order issued by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission at a sand excavation pit in Moblissa. The company has received no permission for excavation work in the area and this is the third time that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission has issued a cease order. Bai Shan Lin has also started construction of a road, without any permission.

Despite the company’s record, among its supporters is Guyana’s ex-President Bharrat Jagdeo. His photograph is included in Chu Wenze’s presentation, as part of the Guyanese Project Promotion Team for an Economic and Trading Cooperation Park that Bai Shan Lin is developing in Guyana.

Other members of the Project Promotion Team include Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar, and Prime Minister, Sam Hinds.

Bharrat Jagdeo is currently the roving ambassador for the Three Basins Initiative, part of which seems to include begging the international community for more money to stop deforestation. Meanwhile, back in Guyana, he’s promoting a Chinese logging company, which seems to be operating above the law.

PHOTO Credit: Chu Wenze of Bai Shan Lin and an official from the China Development Bank present a gift to President Donald Ramotar (GINA).

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  1. How much of that $1,800 per hectare is ending up in the pockets of Messrs Jagdeo, Ramotar and Hinds, I wonder??

  2. And the Norwegians still giving Bharat Jagdeo the millions of dollars, despite evidence of the wanton increase of deforestation!

  3. Why Guyanese people have to put up with such BULL….

  4. @RACO5 (#3) – I’m glad you agree. Bharrat Jagdeo has got away for far too long with promising internationally to do something about deforestation and degradation while simultaneously supporting logging companies in Guyana.

  5. Chinese companies cannot be trusted! The Chinese have ruined the air, water and land quality in their own country (I lived there for three years) and they would certainly not have no problem destroying the forest, land, air, etc. of another for profit. Politics is a messy game, and of all the good things Jagdeo has done for Guyana (including the deal with Norway), this deal with the Chinese was a serious misstep. The lack of money is the root of all corruption. All developing countries need to watch out for backhanded deals made with pariah companies, especially, countries with a small population and weak police force.

  6. This company is in Guyana, but acting as if they are in China. The conditions that the few Guyanese that are working there under are atrocious. Their primary camp at Haimarakabra is a health and safety nightmare, and a typhoid trap. Guyanese workers are treated with the utmost disregard and constantly looked down upon. Someone should really check into this!

    They road building process is poorly planned, and as such the level of destruction to the forest is beyond what is necessary. The roads are being built so as the reduce the investment in bridges, so creeks are filled with debris and and earth in an effort to bridge with a few logs and and earth. The damage to micro-habitats is unbelievable. My heart breaks for my country when I think about this!!!!They have already begun to export logs, the relationship with members from of the Kwakwani community is one of use and abuse. How can we tolerate this as Guyanese, in our own country by people who have in their minds that ‘we come to give you money, not take away money like the Chinese in the city’?

  7. August 14, 2014
    Over the last few days Kaieteur News has done an excellent expose and produced a video showing totally unrestrained exploitation of the forest – lots of container trucks shipping out thousands of logs, ship on the Kwakwani river, fields with thousands of logs to be loaded and shipped out. None of it monitored by the government.
    Such massive deforestation. Absolute devastation. Absolute disaster.

    Question: Isn’t there an agreement between Norway and Guyana – Norway pays Guyana $250 million to keep its forest trees standing. Has this agreement been torn up?
    Question: Bai Shan Lin is one of a group of eleven companies with concessions and licenses to cut down our forest. How did this happen? In the dead of night? Our parliament did not approve this? Who did? Did president Jagdeo have the sole authority without approval from parliament to make these deals with China? I believe president Jagdeo exceeded his authority. No constitution anywhere (except in totalitarian societies)in the world gives a president such powers. I believe president operated here like a lone ranger.
    Two things need to happen immediately:
    (1) Bai Shan Lin’s operations should be suspended immediately.
    (2) President Jagdeo and Bai Shan Lin should be summoned before the Guyana parliament – both to make full disclosures of this deal. All agreements must be renegotiated – and limits, controls and proper monitoring be implemented. This is necessary so that the Norwegians don’t cancel the $250 mil carbon storage deal.

  8. Janette Bulkan wrote (SN, August 16th)
    “There are no functioning controls on the import and use of Asian-origin workers by the Asian loggers, and no requirements to train or employ Guyanese. Barama continually declares that it is making no profits which are taxable in Guyana, and it is probable that the other Asian loggers are similar tax-avoiders”.

    We have a history of mining and logging companies declaring losses to avoid paying taxes. The reality is they smuggle the stuff out. Gold mining companies do it, Logging companies do it. How is it possible to smuggle out logs – this is bulky stuff. And, planes flying out laden with gold?
    Only the top Guyanese govt. officials can explain these things.

  9. So what is the present government doing to sort out this mess. It needs urgent attetion. I know thr PPP has done so much ills that it will take time to resolve but it must be seen that something is being done.