The Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA) is petitioning the High Court to have the appointment of the Chairman of the Rice Assessment Committee (RAC) of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Omadatt Chandan, deemed unlawful and quashed.
According to documents filed by Attorney Anil Nandlall, the GRPA is asking the Court to find that Chandan’s appointment is contrary to law, in excess of jurisdiction, violates the provisions of the Rice Farmers (Security of Tenure Act) Chapter 69:02, an abuse of power, in breach of the Constitution, in breach of the principles of natural justice, illegal, ultra vires, null, void and of no effect.
The Rice Producers Association is also seeking an order quashing the appointment which was made by the Minister of Agriculture, on the grounds that the said appointment is contrary to law, in excess of jurisdiction, violates the provisions of the Rice Farmers (Security of Tenure Act) Chapter 69:02, is an abuse of power.
The Plaintiffs are asking the court to overturn all the decisions/orders made by Chandan, by declaring that those decisions/orders in proceedings instituted by the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) are illegal, ultra vires, null, void and of no effect..
The MMA/ADA is also named as a third party in the court action. The GRPA noted that all decisions/orders made by Chandan in proceedings instituted by the MMA/ADA under the Rice Farmers(Security of Tenure) Act, Chapter 69:02, against members of the Applicant should be deemed in excess of jurisdiction, violate the provisions of the Rice Farmers(Security of Tenure Act) Chapter 69:02, are an abuse of power, are in breach of the Constitution of Guyana, are in breach of the principles of natural justice, are illegal, ultra vires, null, void and of no effect.
The action was against 20 GRPA members consisting of: Rameshwar Ramdatt, Arjune Persaud, Inshan Bacchus, Ahmad Subhan, Samad Rahim, Afraz Chintaman, Harripaul Baldeo, Rajesh Bissoon, Satyanand Persaud, Anirhu Rachpaul, Gewanram Khaderu, Bibi Salima Raffoodeen, Gopichand Ramjit, Lakeram Persaud, Rahaman Sherreiff, Seznarine, Ramdharie Girdharie, Albert Subhan, Ameer Ullah and Dhansew Sewsankar, all of whom are named in proceedings filed against Chandan, the RAC , and MMA/ADA.
The case against GRPA is currently at the Mahaicony Magistrate’s Court.
As such, the GRPA is asking the Court to issue a declaration that all proceedings filed in Magistrate Court by Chandan /the MMA-ADA under the Rice Farmers(Security of Tenure) Act, Chapter 69:02, against its members are contrary to law, in excess of jurisdiction, violate the provisions of the Rice Farmers(Security of Tenure Act).
The High Court action is a follow -up lawsuit to a case filed in the Magistrate Court.
Last month, some 50 rice farmers appeared before the Region’s RAC sitting at the Mahaicony Magistrate’s Court to answer claims filed against them by MMA-ADA totalling millions of dollars. These charge increases were levied in 2017 and purported raised land rent from $1000 to $7000 and $2500 to $8000 for drainage and irrigation, per acre, annually.
The RAC had summoned the farmers for increases in land rents and drainage and irrigation charges.
At that time, their lawyer (Nandlall) noted that not only is the committee illegal, but the new rents are astronomical.
“On the one hand, while floodwaters continue to ravage their homes, their farms/rice crops and their livelihood without any assistance from the Government, on the other hand, the Government, through the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), hauled some 50 rice farmers before the Rice Assessment Committee, at the Mahaicony Magistrate’s Court for the non-payment of illegally imposed astronomical increases in land rents and drainage and irrigation charges.”
He said he appeared for the rice farmers and made the preliminary objection that the Rice Assessment Committee is illegal, and therefore has no jurisdiction to determine the applications filed by the MMA/ADA.
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