PPP promises to reduce land rent for farmers, increase fish exports
The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) on Sunday took its rally to Bath Settlement on the West Coast of Berbice, where they had established the largest Housing Scheme in Region Five during their time in office.
Economic activity in the Mahaica –Berbice Region is predominantly agriculture-based and the PPP/C Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali promised to boost this sector, if elected to office, by providing increased incentives to rice and cash crop farmers and fishermen.
Ali said his party will reduce the land rent which was increased in 2017 by the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary/Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) from $3500 to $15,000 per acre.
“The land rent is driving people out of agriculture…we have to reverse those increases and give back the land to the people” Ali exclaimed.
The former Housing Minister said a PPP Government will do better for the rice farmers in the region by negotiating with commercial banks to give them time to pay off loans.
Several of the farmers in the region were affected by high tides in 2019 which left them with large debts to banks and millers.
“We are going to work with the rice farmers and the commercial banks to reschedule your loans so you can get back on your feet again. That is what we will do,” the Presidential Candidate said.
Ali told the aggrieved rice farmers that his party will provide seed paddy for them, reduce taxes on equipment and eliminate drainage and irrigation charges.
He also spoke to the fishermen noting that the PPP/C will provide them with incentives, seek export markets, increase security at sea and build a storage and packaging facility in the region.
“On March the 2nd, we will be voting to support the revitalization and the re-energizing of the fishing sector here in Region Five, we are going to reverse the taxes on equipment…we will bring a package and storage facility that is of international standard so that they can have access to the facility to prepare them for new markets,” Ali told those gathered in Bath Settlement on Sunday.
The funds to make these measures a reality will come from the oil and gas sector, Ali said.
Turning his attention to security, Ali said the party will tackle security but will also provide more benefits to the police officers to ensure that they can perform better.
He said the PPP/C will re-examine the issue of over-time for the officers after March 2.
His comment came days before the members of the disciplined services cast their vote.
Meanwhile, Prime Ministerial Candidate, Brigadier Mark Phillips –a former Chief-of-Staff –also called on the officers to vote for the PPP.
He said “crime is out of control,” but with his experience in the sector, the PPP will be able to deal with the situation, secure the borders, provide safe communities, get officers to patrol the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and increase the fight against narcotics trafficking.
“We will improve the prison system and we will put our prisoners to work- they have to learn a trade…” Phillips added.Also addressing the crowd was General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo who sought debunk claims that the PPP/C is a racist party.
“You know that the only party that has a plan for Guyana and all of its people is the PPP/C… in the last two weeks you will hear all who love you but none of the smaller parties stood up for you…don’t waste your vote there” Jagdeo noted.
“Don’t be seduced by this nonsense of new promises,” he told the people, referring to the coalition’s recently launched manifesto.