Agri. Minister mulls legal redress to end quarrel between Region #3 farmers, Co-op Society
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Tuesday afternoon met with farmers from communities across Region Three and promised a range of measures including legal redress to end the ongoing quarrel between farmers and the villages’ Co-op Society.
The minister also promised immediate interventions and continued support for poor drainage and irrigation systems that have resulted in flooding and consequential losses for farmers.
During a meeting at Belle Vue, West Bank Demerara, the minister heard of several longstanding issues with the management of farmlands which fall under the direct responsibility of the Co-op Society.
After listening to lengthy exchanges between the farmers and the Co-op’s Chairman, Mustapha said it amounted to personal disagreements.
“There are a lot of personality issues and we need to put those feelings aside and work as a team. My ministry will work with you but you need to put your issues to the side,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister observed that there are in fact some issues that may require legal redress.
“I will engage the Attorney General’s office on this matter because there are some legal issues that need to be addressed before any decision can be made. I will also ask my other colleague, Minister Hamilton who is responsible for Co-ops to visit the area and meet with you. If there is an established Co-op, you have to have AGM and there are certain rules that the Co-op needs to abide by,” Minister Mustapha said.
Meanwhile, at other meetings at Canal Number Two Polder and Hubu, the minister assured of improved drainage to the farming communities. He said most of their drainage issues came as a result of the closure of the Wales Estate.
“You had drainage issues but it was compounded with the closure of the estate and those are the social contributions GuySuCo was making. When we, as a party, said GuySuCo is beyond sugar, many persons were saying that we were only concerned with sugar workers. Now we are seeing the ripple effect that the closure had on the many communities,” he added.
The minister also told farmers who were leasing lands from the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) for agricultural purposes more will benefit similarly under a new project.