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Harmon takes up Forestry Commissioner’s challenge for debate on Bai Shan Lin

APNU’s Joseph Harmon

Opposition lawmaker, Joseph Harmon has taken up a challenge by the Commissioner of Forests, James Singh to debate the state of the forestry sector especially in light of ongoing criticisms about the role of the Chinese company, Bai Shan Lin (BSL), in the export of large amounts of logs.

Harmon has, however, challenged the Commissioner of Forests to provide documents about various deals with BSL and hold the public debate in Linden and cater for about 3,000 persons many of whom are most affected by BSL’s operation.

The front-bencher for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) wants the debate to be held between September 15 and 30, 2014.

“I welcome your offer to provide any information which is needed before the event and I am very pleased to know that your subject minister would permit you, a Public Servant to publicly debate an Opposition Member of Parliament,” Harmon told Singh in a letter.

Harmon wants copies of all agreements between (BSL) and (GFC), BSL and Government of Guyana including those between that company and other entities involved in the forestry sector for the cutting and export of logs.

The APNU parliamentary wants the GFC to supply him with a report on GFC’s supervision of of those agreements and GFC opinion on “Landlord” in the Forestry Sector.

Investment agreements with BSL requiring the company to set up set up a wood processing facility in Guyana is also being asked of the GFC boss to hand over to Harmon.

The opposition further wants in advance copies of any documents related BSL’s  export of logs from Guyana to China over the last five years, and a comparison of the said logs reportedly imported into China and if there is a difference in the figures whether  GFC can offer an explanation.

Duty Free Concessions, including hose on fuel, over the last five years, and any agreements between BSL including any tenancy agreements which provide personal benefit to any GFC official and any document related to work permits issued to foreign nationals on behalf of BSL for employment in the forestry sector are also being requested by Harmon.

The Commissioner of Forests has assured that “the GFC has clear, transparent and technically sound guidelines and procedures for all aspects of its forestry operation and these are uniformly and consistently applied across the forest sector.”

“The GFC role as a regulatory agency involves interactive and open dialogue with stakeholders. In this regard, I would like to invite   you to a public debate on Bai Shan Lin’s operations and any other related forestry matter at a time that is convenient to you,” said Singh.