Rice farmers protest non-payment
Rice farmers from across Region Two staged a protest over millions of dollars owed to them for the past two years, by Mahaicony Rice Mills Ltd.
Bearing placards that suggested “GRDB does not serve the interest of farmers”, “Farmers want the Ministry of Agriculture in Essequibo now”, and “Close MRL until Rice farmers are paid” farmers vented their frustration at the Region Two Administration office, at Anna Regina.
While some farmers are maintaining that the company has owed them for more than two years, others claim that they have been owed by the company for the last crop, dating back to last October, 2011.
Deochand Singh, who said that the company owes him $1.2M since last October, is further indicating that several calls to the MRL have since gone unanswered.
Another irate farmer, Naithram who was issued a “bounced” cheque, said that the company owes him almost $500,000.
He too said that calls to the company proved futile.
Regional Chairman, Parmanand Persaud, told the frustrated rice farmers, that he supports their peaceful protest. He added that the Government has since suspended the licence issued to Mahaicony Rice Mills and also seized the assets of the company’s two rice factories, at Vilvoorden and Paradise, both on the Essequibo Coast, with the intent of reselling those assets and ensuring that the farmers owed, be paid.
Persaud said that in the past government injected $19M to another Rice Miller to assist farmers who were owed.