Bai Shan Lin: the Chinese logger with multiple interests in Guyana
The victory of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition in Guyana’s May 2015 elections signalled the end to the uninterrupted rule of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) that had begun in 1992.
Many also expected an end to the preferential treatment given to partially state-owned Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin (BSL), which in 2007 began operating in this small but resource-rich South American country nestled between Venezuela and Suriname on the Caribbean coast to the north of Brazil.
The APNU coalition had promised during its election campaign that the “rule of law” would prevail under its watch, and that companies benefitting from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agreements would have to comply with both the terms of their contracts and Guyanese law. Yet Chinese companies, such as BSL, continue to dominate.
Understanding why means taking into account the country’s recent political history and unique ecology.