PPP officials knew of impending collapse of Venezuela rice deal – PM

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Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo

By Jomo Paul

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo. [iNews' Photo]
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo says that officials from the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration were aware of an impending collapse of the rice for oil (Petrocaribe) deal that Guyana has with neighbouring Venezuela; but this is being denied by the former government.

On Thursday, news broke that Guyana will no longer be exporting large quantities of rice to Venezuela, sending a wave of concern throughout the rice industry as the collapse signals a certain downturn for the sector, given the fact that rice farmers are fully dependent on the Venezuelan market to export their produce.

Nagamootoo in a statement explained that “it is necessary that it be noted there is documentary evidence that Venezuela’s decision was communicated to former Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Guyana’s Ambassador in Caracas Geoffrey Da Silva.”

Rice being prepared for export
Rice being prepared for export.

According to Nagamootoo, it is now left for the common man to ponder whether rice farmers and other stakeholders in the rice industry were being held hostage by the PPP/C administration.

“It is sad and inexcusable that the Guyanese people were not advised of this by the former PPP government. Questions will now have to be asked as to whether the Guyanese people, and the thousands of rice farmers in particular who could be affected, were being held hostage by the PPP’s silence purely for the purposes of narrow politicking,” the Prime Minister  stated.

He affirmed that the government will “explore fully, all options to ensure that farmers and those dependent on Guyana’s rice industry are not adversely affected.”

Meanwhile, Former Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett told iNews that Venezuelan officials never confirmed that there will not be a rice deal in 2016; however the government was aware of the possibility.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues - Birkett.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett.

She told iNews that in the past, Venezuela would posit that they were not interested in another deal but would later agree to a new deal with Guyana.

“The Venezuelans never formally informed us about that; they did say there might not be agreement in 2016…this was not new because they have said this before and the agreement was still renewed,” Birkett explained.

Efforts made by iNews to contact former Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy proved futile; however sources at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) explained to iNews that the deal has not entirely collapsed.

It was noted that Venezuela stated they would be looking to import less rice from Guyana. The source also told iNews that every year a new deal is renegotiated between the two governments. The current trade deal that Guyana has with Venezuela is worth US$130M.

12 COMMENTS

  1. All their supporters know to do is protest and burndown GT,if only they can go out and try to find a job instead of fighting for free eletricity they will help them to stay in power.

  2. the PPP didnt give me tractors and equiptment but I was able to work very hard to get it and they showed us the way,unlike people like you who will always blame slavery for your inability to own anything,we like to work ,can you say the same for yourself?

  3. Its unfortunate that the rice farmers will suffer until other markets are explored, however many of them benefitted from the high prices the Venezuelans paid. I hope the farmers invested properly to maintain themselves and families. With that said, the PM should not take to social media to blame the previous Gov for a deal which would not have lasted forever. It is his and the others job now to find and secure markets for Guyana rice. The Venezuelans had a plan all along to stop paying the high price for rice and to explore other markets (Uruguay, Vietnam, Brazil etc). The timing of the announcement coincide with the illegal decrees by Caracas, so in essence it looks bad (could be that they planned it this way as well). However, the Venezuelans did indicate in the latter part of 2014 of their willingness to explore other options with Guyana in terms of trade and not solely on rice. Under Petrocaribe Guyana’s name was called by the Venezuelans on numerous occasions as one of the country’s (if not the top of the list) with the best payback plan and it was working, SO YES, CAROLYN and COMPANY were doing their jobs and doing it great. NOW, the New Admin got to show their skills at diplomacy and tact and if they can manage to salvage anything outta Caracas (Tade wise) then their worth the confidence of the Guyanese people. So blogger GARY if you dont know shit about the inner workings, stop coming on here and talking JAZZ and calling names.

  4. Is Larry serious,we have an opposition who wants to see the present Govt.fail after they were there for over 20yrs.That will never happen,if they did not fail can’t see how the present Govt.will.What the ppp is doing is playing tit-for-tat but if they follow history they know they will fail.Their supporters will never see that,they are led by their noses,i grow with them,i live with them

  5. Bibi I’m with you its time these incompetent former officials be brought to justice. Eg. brassington with Marriott hotel the Berbice river bridge clique. The specialty hospital given to a company with no expertise in constructing that kind of building the sugar factory that is producing less than
    before and on and on. When will these people be made to account for their misdeeds and all of the missing monies.

  6. you are so conceited. The PPP/C with all its thievery and corruption can be deemed illegal. The PPP/C didnt give you tractors free and equipment. so stop making this what it is not. If they did a good or bad, deal with it.

  7. because that is what is was just accusation where fools like you are gullible the PPP already dare the government to bring the charges what taking them so long because they don’t have the facts to back up there accusation and here goes naggy boy blaming the previous government he seem to be able to do everything when he was the opposition so let see what you have the farmer plant the rice you sell it the previous government was doing that big time now it’s on you show us what you have

  8. There goes the rice industry,Nagga is blaming the PPP for everything,it is under the PPP that we as rice farmers were able to own tractors ,Combines,our own rice mill ETC,now you and your illegal government will eat away one by one,the sugar industry will be closed very soon ,the rice is next on your list,get the message Venezuela Government does not want anything to do with an illegal government.

  9. We must be more astute. “Never put all your eggs in one basket”. We should have been seeking other markets a long while ago and with urgency since the beginning of the present claims of the Ven gov’t. Uruguay would be a good place to start.

  10. Wow, so what the poor rice farmers suppose to do now to feed their families?. These are the people PPP had running things in the country , she Carolyn can say whatever she has to make her self look as if she and the other LOSERS were doing their job. It is all being exposed how inefficient they all were to run the country. So I am wondering which other country Guyana will get to trade rice for something else, to allow the rice industry to continue and the families has food on their table.

  11. When will the former ministers be arrested and charged based on all these findings of theft the audits, the misappropriations, etc. Isn’t there laws and violation of laws that can charge these ministers. The former president’s son should be fired or charged as he claims 40% of the materials were damaged. Did you see the damaged materials? This is insane he should be charged also for being absent from work and collecting a salary. Why is the the current administration not doing anything about it. This is the taxpayers money and government funding All those contracts and missing of billions of dollars and incomplete projects. The evidence is there. What is happening?

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