[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has assured that all rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast will be fully paid by the end of the first week in August.
The Minister was speaking at public meetings in the company of President Donald Ramotar, and General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj at Fisher Primary school, Golden Fleece and Hampton Court Primary school at Devonshire Castle on Sunday, July 13.
The President and his team rushed to meet the farmers following a violent protest recently in Essequibo, which saw the burning of tyres and blocking of roads after millers continue to delay payments to the rice farmers.
Some 19 farmers were arrested and charged, following the protest. The government blamed the minority Opposition Party, the Alliance for Change (AFC) for inciting the protest, after it [protest] was led by AFC Councilor, Naith Ram. This claim has since been rejected by the AFC.
During the meeting, Dr Ramsammy said that the millers must find a way to pay farmers promptly.
According to the Agriculture Minister, the Ministry can take away the licenses of the millers, but he questioned what will become of the paddy. He admitted that the biggest problem facing the Ministry is finding ways to have rice farmers paid on time.
The Minister explained to farmers that millers from Essequibo proposed to pay part of the amount owed but he said that was unacceptable and that they must do better.
According to Dr Ramsammy, two millers who owed close to $1B to farmers started to make payments, while some $23B worth of paddy was sold to millers by farmers across the country and already some $20B of the money were paid to farmers.
In an earlier interview with iNews, General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj revealed that some $400 million have already been paid to Essequibo rice farmers.
the clowns in afc are beating the down right stupid ppp to the punch. why dont ppp go after the millers …. of heck what am i saying…the milliers are buddies with the biggies in ppp and can do no wrong….like how the girl at UG told me sometimes they have to wait to get paid not pushed to do the work..she almost got kicked out of her home for late payment of rent every time UG hold back their money..hey listen this…this is Guyana and once you are big and in high places who gives a hoot to the low level people..millers are the beatly loaded ones while the farmers toiled their guts out..
This is not how Business is run in any country. When goods are delivered, considerations must be met. Errant millers should be penalized for late payments to farmers. A penalty in added interest on money owing (at bank rate) should be awarded to farmers.
If millers cannot do a proper business, Government should step in with solutions. We should not wait for the AFC to be Johnny on the spot and offer insincere sympathy for votes. This been happening far too often.
We must do better.