propaganda press would like to remind new readers that this deal was also signed by robert persaud, newphew in law of narco-gangster bharrat jagdeo
kaieteur news: An Indian company known more for its coffee beans than its furniture making, reportedly shipped out almost 50 containers of logs during the past two months, despite
Government[robert persaud and bharrat jagdeo] insisting last year that the same company was not interested in “large scale” exportation.
The majority of logs shipped out are said to be washiba, a hardwood used to make top end furniture. Also shipped were purpleheart, greenheart and snakewood.
Guyana has not made a secret of its intentions to drastically reduce logs export in favor of more downstream or value-added processing.
The former Bharrat Jagdeo administration had heavily defended the Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc. (VHPI) deal that the local media only knew about after the deal was published in the Times of India, rated the largest English language newspaper in the world.
With questions over the forestry concessions granted to VHPI, which is a subsidiary of the renowned Coffee Day Limited of India, in April last year, government had insisted that there was nothing secret about granting the concessions to that company.
Coffee Day is owned by V. G. Siddhartha an Indian businessman from Karnataka.
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), which regulates the country’s forests, made it clear that the VHPI has indicated that it will be building processing facilities here.
“It has been established that in addition to log exports in accordance with National Log Export Policy, the company will engage in added value activities. The GFC has a policy of added value forestry activities and would have rejected any application from the company if it was solely interested in log exports,” former Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, told the media during a press conference to explain the deal.
It was disclosed then that VHPI was issued a State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) previously issued to Simon and Shock Intl. (SSI), a US company, and a Timber Sales Agreement (TSA) previously issued to Caribbean Resources Limited (CRL).
In April last year, the Times of India disclosed that VHPI had been granted 1.8M acres of forest land and was interested in shipping logs from Guyana for its furniture business in India.
There were immediate questions on transparency and accusations of a possible sweetheart deal involving government.
“This was essentially a reallocation of a suspended SFEP and a repossessed TSA that followed all the necessary requirements. When the original investors of SSI and the previous holders of the TSA now issued to Vaitarna were in default for so many years, there was no condemnation of these companies, especially by the commentators and political activists who are now vocal on this issue,” Persaud had said.
At the press conference at GFC’s headquarters in Kingston last year were Commissioner, James Singh; Chairman John Caesar and Head of Planning and Development Division, Pradeepa Bholanauth.
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