Open letter to the Prime Minister – Honorable Moses Nagamootoo : REAL CRISIS IN THE RICE INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE

I am writing to you – after serious consideration about the future of the Agriculture sector and the rice industry, in particular. You would agree that you party, the AFC,
demanded/negotiated to have the Ministry of Agriculture and you agreed to execute the Rice Farmers DEMANDS as stated in the Manifesto of the APNU-AFC Coalition government. ; to date your minister Holder does not see it fit to do what he was instructed to do by accepting the position afforded by your party the AFC .
The rice farmers who have no other alternative have put themselves further in debt and massively planted again ; we expect a bumper crop .
May I respectfully remind you that we have been on the same platform during the campaign where you have promised the farmers that you would be the minister of agriculture and I had pledge that we would support you fully to undue the harm the PPP had inflicted on the rice farmers :
-The Venezuela deal was the best ever deal Guyana got , I know as myself and Jinnah Rahman initiated it ,the PPP government got $9000 per bag and only paid the farmers about 3000.
– I published where and how the money was siphoned of .
– The PPP in answer to the educational campaign the RPA action committee ran was that we where mad men and that all the money was in a special fund, that markets where no problem and that contrary to what I said the Venezuela deal was very much alive ; on all counts it now is established that the PPP mislead the farmers and the public at large.
We did not win with a landslide as the PPP who could not win on issues changed their campaign to despicable race batching . The same situation as 1992 when you where part of a similar campaign with the PPP as rice was made to do extremely well by president Hoyte ; farmers changed his name to Desmond Persad .
Unfortunately, the Rice Producers Association Action Committee and the rice farmers immediately after the election you have stopped all communications with the RPA action committee and appointed Mr.Holder, a person who we never met during the campaign and who according to his own statement knows nothing about agriculture and rice.
De facto the ministry of agriculture is still ran by the PPP as all the PPP appointees are still there such as Mr. George Jarvis who was signing the checks for the cartel millers demanding that farmers paid must vote for them.
Minister Holder and his trusted officers Jarvis, Housty,Hassan etc still refuse to give us copies of the original contracts so we can prove the fraud and corruption of the PPP and that they are the cause of the downturn of the rice industry which was rebuild by president Hoyte resulting in the very vibrant industry it was until the corruption started.
The clear continuation of the PPP policies not only concerning rice but also sugar is dramatically visible.
Our President is mislead by the AFC / Min.Holder publicly stating that the rice industry is a private sector industry while the law says that it is fully controlled by the GRDB.
One year after us being the government the AFC ministry of agriculture cannot produce a audit report however we are monitoring the situation as there will be transparency as promised to the public at large .
I write you as there is a new opportunity to correct and rebuild the rice industry as the arbitrary board of the GRDB appointed by min.Holder will come to an end by end of June .
I urge you to read the GRDB act which is a act by LAW .
On the board the are 2 rice millers appointed by the minister and those persons must be proposed by the millers association ; the minister has a fiduciary duty to see and know that these persons are democratically chosen by their organization .Min.Holder hand pick the 2 millers a situation we know from the PPP government when the then Min.Robert Persad fired the board and put his own people.
Note : this rice millers association is a association which resulted as a emergency solution to cover up the fraud and corruption of the PPP and the now minister has adopted it.
On the board according to the act there must be 3 rice farmers which are proposed by the RPA ; again Minister Holder handpicked farmers to be on the Board without exercising his fiduciary duty to assure the farmers and the public, at large, that the farmers represent are democratically chosen.
You as a descendant of the PPP know that the RPA is de facto a arm of the PPP. On the board Min. Holder has appointed as Chairman, Mr. Claude Housty, who was replaced by President Hoyte to facilitate a corrupt free development of the industry in 1991.
You know, as I have explain this to you that the Guyana MARKETING Board was replaced by Guyana Rice DEVELOPMENT Board (GRDB) clearly dropping “marketing”, however and apparently the Marketing board came alive again making the president look really like a fool when he publicly says that rice is fully “private sector”.
Mr.George Jarvis, a PPP appointed permanent secretary , appointed Mr. Hassan as the General Manager of the rice Board. But the GRDB Law clearly states that ALL APPOINTMENTS must be done by the Board of Directors and therefore his appointment is a violation of the act.
It must be clear to you and the AFC as coalition partners that you demanded to have agriculture and the given situation being a continuation of the PPP policies of fraud and corruption are unacceptable and I urge that the necessary being done to stop this untenable situation .
I need not to explain to you given the now pubic Guyana Marketing Corporation audit report that it is unacceptable that these men continue to be employed by a reputable government and what makes it worse is that this men have now displayed the fraudulent contracts of the fertilizer deal and the Jamaica contract which has now clearly injured the industry further making clear their incompetency and fraudulent character .
On the board there is also a representative of the consumers organization as we felt that the consumers interest must be represented ; rice is our staple food !
Seven more members are appointed on the board which would be to the discretion of the ruling parties as they represent the majority of the people of Guyana and I would want to believe that in the 40-60 split the AFC would appoint 3 and the APNU would appoint 4 members .
I look forward to a new ,honest and industry qualified board instead of what we have seen so far with the purpose of rebuilding the industry after the destruction by the PPP and now the AFC .
I make note of the fact that there is a bumper crop coming and GRDB cannot identify where this rice is going to go at acceptable prices for the farmers neither is there any acceptable form of damage control which damage is now enhanced by the AFC ran the Ministry of Agriculture .
Looking forward to see the action to be taken as per the manifesto based on honesty,and statesmanship and we stand ready to help fix is as we know as professionals in the field that it can be fixed as it can be done with sugar as well .
I copy this statement to the coalition partners and the press to have established the dire situation as I am convinced that if not pressed by law and order the given situation will continue ; a situation the farmers and Guyana cannot afford .
Sincerely ,
Dr.Turhane M. Doerga Ph.D.
Co-chair RPA action committee .

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