Guyana: Gov gives full support to its largest most corrupt logging corporation

Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has repeated his
endorsement of the Barama logging company, which he made just two
years ago (SN, January 17, 2009, ‘Barama committed to complying with
forest guidelines – GFC head’). On January 11, 2007, the Commissioner
issued an open letter stating that “the GFC verifies that the Barama
Company Limited (BCL) of Guyana has been performing in compliance with
the laws of Guyana as related to forest operations and the Code of
Practice for Timber Harvesting. The company is considered an
exemplary leader in the forest sector as it relates to responsible
forest management…” This letter was communicated two days after the
certificate for quality of forest management was suspended by the
conformity assessment body, SGS Qualifor, having regard to major
failures by Barama which resulted in the issue of five new Major
Corrective Action Requests (CARs), the continuation of two Major
Corrective Action Requests not satisfied during the period between
February and November 2007, and four new Minor Corrective Action
Requests. These CARs covered a range of environmental and social
deficiencies, and collectively indicated that Barama was not operating
at anywhere near the requirements of the standard for responsible
forest stewardship. SGS was suspended for FSC certification in Guyana
in January 2007 for failing to follow its own procedures in assessing
and monitoring, failures which concealed still other faults of Barama.
During early 2008, a second conformity assessment body carried out a
scoping visit and also concluded that Barama was far from
certification. WWF Guianas, having already invested some US$160,000 in
trying to raise the standard of Barama forest management during
2003-6, expressed disappointment but stood up to encourage better
management during 2007-8. WWF Guianas has now regretfully withdrawn
from that effort (SN, January 11, 2009, ‘WWF has “disconnected” from
Barama – does not believe company can regain forest stewardship
certificate’). This is a sad conclusion after the direct investment
by WWF-US and other donors channelled through WWF Guianas, and also
for the Forest Stewardship Council of which WWF International was an
inaugural member in 1993 and has continued to be a staunch supporter.

Comments (1)

growthy (D. Angersbach)January 22nd, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Guyana: Gov gives full support to its largest most corrupt logging corporation –

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