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Asian wood companies told to start value added production or face contract termination

Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman.

Bai Shan Lin Forest Development Inc. and Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc. will have their contracts, which allows them to harvest timber from Guyana’s forests, terminated if they fail to commence value-added operations by year-end, says Governance Minister Raphael Trotman.

Bai Shan Lin established itself in Guyana in 2005 and has several concessions in Guyana, including around 960,000 hectares of forest, a 20-kilometer river gold mining concession, and 400 acres of land for real estate development. Vaitarna’s also holds a concession for several hundred thousand hectares of forest.

As part of their contracts, both companies were obligated to establish and operate timber-processing plants. In 2013, former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, had said that the Bai Shan Lin facility, which was due before 2013, would be established and operating by 2015. The Government Information Agency (GINA), in the same year, had reported the Bai Shan Lin’s President, Chu Wenzhe, as saying that plans toward establishing the wood processing plant in Region 10 were progressing. A similar facility for Vaitarna was also promised by the former administration and the company’s officials.

Neither company has followed through on their commitments, though they continue to harvest logs for exportation.

On Wednesday though, Trotman told reporters that government has spoken to both companies and have secured commitments that they will commence value-added operations “in a few months’ time.”

“Both have been spoken to already. Both have government a commitment that within a matter of months they will be addressing the value-added concern. I expect that before the end of the year the nation will start to see value added products being produced by those two companies.”

Trotman said that if they failed to honor their commitments this time around their contract” will be reviewed for termination.”6