By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Alliance For Change [AFC] has rejected claims that the Party instigated tension among Essequibo rice farmers, which escalated into a violent protest over late payments to farmers by some millers in the area.
Party Chairman, Moses Nagamootoo during the AFC’s weekly press conference snapped and said the Government is conveniently saying the AFC is misleading farmers.
“This is a bread and butter issues and if they don’t understand this when you belly start to burn you forget politics,” Nagamootoo said.
He insists that Government is trying to politicize a genuine issue of the farmer’s livelihood instead of putting policies and systems in place to protect the farmers and their families.
“The response of the State against the farmers was out of proportion to the nature of the problem and it showed that this Government’s first response to criticism to decent protest is violence.”
Nagamootoo unequivocally supports the cause of the farmers for fair play and market for their produce. He fears a crisis because of the buildup it will become uneconomical for farmers to produce.
He is now calling on Government to be responsible and look at the interest of the farmers and pay attention to the problems that exist on the Essequibo coast.
Nagamootoo said many are turning from the PPP.
“I was born in the cup too you know but when they put vinegar instead of milk in it for me, I knew that I had to make a choice and I am proud of the choice I made.”
The AFC Chairman also questioned what would be the outcome if the rice industry collapsed.
“That’s why I am saying that the Government needs to form a task force, a broad base task force that would now do a forensic analysis into the state of the rice industry and look at all aspects of its viability.”