Press Release – Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, rejects false statement by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon

The Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and the Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal held a meeting with farmers and residents at Dantzig this morning and listened to the numerous concerns they raised after five years of neglect.

The Minister committed to getting the farmers back on their footing through direct intervention from agencies under his Ministry. He assured them that Senior Technical Officers from NAREI, GLDA, NDIA, GRDB as well as the Regional Democratic Council will be visiting the area from Wednesday coming to commence ground truthing, verification, and assessment of the losses of various types of famers, and immediately move to provide assistance based on those results.

Mr. Harmon had said that Minister Mustapha and Regional Chairman Ramphal offered callous and irrational excuses claiming that all budgetary allocations are for covering expenses of the previous government – a total falsehood. However, what he failed to mention is that during his tenure, his government totally ignored these farmers and the sea defence.

Farmers in the area claimed that they have never seen people like Mr. Harmon or Members from the APNU/AFC government in the area and they never received any type of interventions or assistance from them. Instead, they were burdened with clogged canals and abandoned drainage and irrational services. Minister Mustapha wishes to remind Mr. Harmon that it was his government that burdened rice famers with non-payment for rice that was shipped to Panama. Since taking office, Government has already made contact with Panamanian officials and they have committed to paying the monies owed for these shipments with interest as soon as possible.

Minister Mustapha pledged to the farmers at the meeting that his Ministry would work assiduously to resolve the problems and concerns raised by farmers and residents and that he is not there to make false political promises. Farmers were told that they can make direct contact with the Minister or his Secretariat to provide feedback on the interventions.

Minister Mustapha is assuring the Guyanese public that the resources of this country are for all the people of Guyana and that the PPP/C Administration will ensure that this happens.

The Minister said he was not surprised that Mr. Harmon would make such a statement and he was simply amused that he did so about the visit when it was the opposite which occurred. The farmers at the meeting can and will tell the whole truth.

Farmers and residents left the meeting very satisfied with the Minister’s immediate intervention and expressed their satisfaction with the announced measures.

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