APNU+AFC blasts BaiShanLin for failure to honor promises to Guyana + videos

APNU+AFC blasts BaiShanLin for failure to honor promises to Guyana

May 5, 2015 | By | – As furor against Chinese company continues to rise
APNU+AFC  Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine

APNU+AFC Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine

A Partnership for National Unity plus Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC)’s Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine and Khemraj Ramjattan have both condemned the alarming rate at which concessions are being handed to BaiShanLin.

They say that this is being done at the expense of local businessmen. They also point to the company’s failure to honour its commitments to provide Guyanese employment.

These issues recently came to the fore with the revelations of the large tax concessions granted to the Chinese-owned company. BaiShanLin has been under scrutiny for its large scale extraction and export of Guyana’s timber using a primarily Chinese workforce.

Though the Government of Guyana has protested that BaiShanLin’s export level remains within the parameters of the law, the Chinese company has not created jobs within Guyana’s sector for Guyanese or made any serious attempt to give back to the Guyanese people.

Despite the fact that the company has been in Guyana since 2005, BaiShanLin is yet to honour its commitment to Guyana to establish a wood processing plant, instead exporting all of the extracted timber almost instantaneously.

Roopnaraine expressed his dismay at the entire situation, stating that the local private sector and the small miner and forester were the ones whose livelihood suffered the most, but that Guyana was also deriving no benefit in the entire process.

APNU+AFC Khemraj Ramjattan

APNU+AFC Khemraj Ramjattan

Roopnaraine stated that it was necessary for the government to implement a more consistent tax regime and to provide more incentives and a level playing field for local miners and foresters, who have long complained of the domination of BaiShanLin on the country’s timber market.

The politician nevertheless noted that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was just caught up in the imbroglio, being mandated to fulfill the Government’s policies.

Any change in the tax policy towards foreign investors must come from the Government itself, Roopnaraine said.
Ramjattan was critical of the company, noting that the non-implementation of the timber processing plant in Linden, was a fundamental violation of the company’s agreement, when they would have had to lay out a proposal upon approaching the Government of Guyana.

He also cited the huge amounts of logs being exported as another violation that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) was tacitly allowing.
Financial analyst Ramon Gaskin had blasted the government’s “sweetheart deal” with BaiShanLin in the latest Thursday night broadcast of Nation Watch with Christopher Ram.
He stated that the Chinese company’s continued presence in Guyana was doing nothing more than harm to the economy.

Added to this was the fact that BaiShanLin was in a virtual ‘tax paradise’ not having to pay any royalties or applicable value added taxes (VAT) among other concessions.

Gaskin had described it as Guyana having to subsidize the Chinese economy. China is currently rated as the world’s second largest economy, far ahead of Guyana’s.

The company is reported to have benefitted from billions of dollars worth in tax concessions, remissions and tax holidays, but when enquiries into its failure to honour its commitment to build the wood processing plant started last year, it blamed the Guyana Office for Investment (Go- Invest) for delaying its application for the factory.

Within the last week, however, it has shifted the blame to “hostile” media reports in 2014 for discouraging financers, singling out Kaieteur News as the leader of the “hostile campaign”.
It also claimed that the newspaper had no evidence to support many of its claims.

BaiShanLin, in its statement, insisted that it is a privately-owned company and does not receive capital from the Government of Guyana. Kaieteur News at no time contended that BaiShanLin receives funding from the Government of Guyana. But even in its response to the article, BaiShanLin does not deny that it was approved ‘US$70M’ for certain activities.

With regard to the wood processing plant in the Linden area that was to be constructed, BaiShanLin, one of the largest exporters of the country’s prime species of wood, complained that it has indeed suffered major setbacks in completing its wood processing facility that will create hundreds of jobs for Guyanese.

It claimed that these “setbacks” directly relate to lack of adequate funding from its financiers, who, since last year “when these sustained attacks began,” became concerned about the “soundness of investing further in what appeared to be a hostile environment.”

It would contradict what the company said in August last year when local media reported on the extent of BaiShanLin’s operations in Guyana.
Back then, the company failed to mention in its published advertisements that “financiers” were scared to invest.

Instead, back then BaiShanLin sought to throw the blame on GO-Invest for the delays.
In one of its advertisements, the company stated that in 2008, it applied to the “Government of Guyana through the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) and other agencies to lease lands to set up a factory to process logs and engage in value-added production, such as the making of furniture, craft and hardwood flooring.”

It had said then that it was experiencing delays.
Kaieteur News later reported that GO-Invest had had no such application. BaiShanLin had nothing to say when this was revealed.
This caused many, including the opposition, to challenge the government to make public the investment agreement it signed on to with the Chinese logging company. To date, this is yet to be done.

Further, on the note of logging, BaiShanLin said that as it relates to operations, it has consistently remained well within the regulations governing the forestry sector.
It has been reported on extensively, by insiders and other well-informed critics, including Dr. Janette Bulkan, a forestry specialist, that BaiShanLin practices landlordism.

The Timber Sales Agreement (TSAs) which governs logging does not allow that.
BaiShanLin also sought to justify its great access to the mining sector. The regulations stipulate that only Guyanese can participate in auctions and bid for mining lands.

It said that the company’s owner in Guyana, Mr. Chu Hongbo is a naturalized Guyanese and that he is entitled to benefit from that clause. He did not say whether all the statutory requirements for naturalisation were met.

BaiShanLin failed to point out that it has been granted hundreds of millions of dollars in duty free concessions and other breaks and therefore has an unfair advantage when it comes to competing with local operators.

Granger says Jagdeo major player in Bai Shan Lin

Bai Shan Lin aerial view of Kwakwani operations

Published on Aug 11, 2014 – An aerial view of logs ready for shipment to China by Bai Shan Lin from Kwakwani – one of its many logging operations in Guyana.
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  • de castro  On 05/06/2015 at 2:40 am

    Before granting these concessions (tax free) what checks were made on the
    BaiShanLin credentials/banking/associations/affiliations etc.
    Were they being funded for the operation in Guyana by AIIB (Chinese equivalent
    with international signatories) a bank set to compete with IMF WB.

    GOOGLE AIIB for more info

    What is now in question is too little too late to remedy…..
    However if tax free concessions were granted initially
    these can be recinded by any noew government elected.
    Withdrawal of these tax concessions is the decision of the Guyana
    government internally……then full tax can be collected to benefit
    Guyanese tax payers.
    Profits made by BaiShanLin taxable in Guyana at whatever rate of corporation tax is applicable.
    UK its now %22 Ireland lowest in world %12…again Google corporation tax.

    Our world is global our thinking must be local and global.
    Its not rocket science….just simple commonsense economics.😇

    UK is now a competitive producer/nett exporter of cars.
    30 years ago UK car industry was subsidised with taxpayers money
    to compete with world producers/exporters. USA now receiving
    subsidy by US taxpayers to survive. Our world is global….survival of the most adaptable/diverse of the species.
    Guyana no exception.

    This analysis is “Gratis” free …..Guyana cannot afford my fees
    (too corrupt to pay) …..of course they can always consult with the ex president
    Russian trained economist for advice on projects….my integrity remains intact.

    Que Sera Sera

    Sir kamtan lord of cherin by appointment to HRH QE2 UKPLC

  • Eileen Russell  On 05/06/2015 at 9:33 am

    I know that Guyana rainforest will never be the same if or when Bai Shan Lin finishes….they are out to get all that they can…Only in Guyana foreigners are usually given such power..then they will leave the forest floor as a sterile useless ground..Guyanese cannot go to China and do anything on such a large scale, NO they will never get permits..of course there is no spare land or trees in certain parts of China that is inhabited..The Guyana government should insist that the company..or give concession to another company to begin a do “replanting of trees ” for future Guyanese Generations, they have to look ahead to the future, so the Guyanese childrens’ children will be able to have a rainforest….Wake up..whoever is in charge of Forestry Dept..in the areas the Chinese are cutting and offer bids for replanting of trees….It may be as de castro stated..its too little too late….I think its not too late to start replanting trees.

  • de castro  On 05/06/2015 at 10:35 am

    Eileen partly agree with your suggestion of replanting trees.
    Unfortunately a 100+ year old tree cannot be replaced in a lifetime.
    Some of the trees felled are much older hence my comment of
    “Too little too late’……permission should immediately be withdrawn by an act of parliament and BaiShanLin should be made to replant every tree felled.
    And every penny of tax ” avoided” “evaded” “offered” be paid to the guyana
    Tax office. Failing that every piece of equipment “confiscated” legally auctioned
    off with proceeds paid in compensation.
    Let’s hope the political class has the Gaul (nuts) to legislate on this “mistake” wiillful or accidental by their predecessors.
    In UK the loosers usually leave a note for their successors…..
    “Sorry no money in the kitty” ……guess it may be the same in Guyana’s political
    Don’t trust politicians
    Don’t trust bankers
    Dont trust religious leaders.

    Trust my family and friends until they betray that trust.
    That’s life😇

    Que Sera

  • albert  On 05/06/2015 at 7:41 pm

    The agreements, if available, have to be reviewed. Sure there are reasonble grounds to revoke and revise them. Pointless if they are not enforced.

  • compton de castro  On 05/06/2015 at 8:27 pm

    We shall see…..how this one develops 😈 after 11 may.😇

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