Oct 22, 2020 Letters
After the 2015 Elections, the APNU+AFC embarked on an unparalleled egocentric course which even thrusted its own supporters and members into a state of oblivion and total abandonment when it comes to implement social and economic policies to rescue them from a dire state of poverty and social ills.
This state of affairs does not surprise in the least since I lived nearby to Fyrish Village and had witnessed many excursion trips from the Coalition and yet the people’s conditions there had not been alleviated at all. In April 2016, former President Granger visited the village for a second time and in what had become his trademark ‘bowl’ delivery he urged the residents to strengthen the pillars: the church, the school, the home and the farm, to ensure the revival of the fortunes of the village which once stood as an agriculture powerhouse and the ‘fruit-bowl’ of the Corentyne. It should be recalled that he had baptized Region Six the ‘sugar bowl’ and ‘rice bowl’ on some of his ‘outreaches’. Unfortunately, the only ‘bowl’ he succeeded in delivering to Region 6 was the ‘begging bowl’. It is instructive to note that over one year after Granger’s ‘pillar and fruit bowl’ speech at the Village Day, the entire Fyrish farmland was inundated by flood waters and all the fruit trees and plantain trees were laid waste.
On 17th October, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Zulfikar Mustapha and his team held a well-attended meeting with residents and farmers at the Fyrish Primary School and I had expected that after Granger and Harmon would have visited the village on numerous occasions that the residents would have had most of their problems resolved, but that was wishful thinking. In fact, the Minister was bombarded with multiple problems which should have been resolved. It was clear that Granger’s Government had neglected the very ‘pillars’ which he philosophized about in 2016. The visibly disappointed residents complained bitterly about truckloads of garbage blocking most of the drains, sanitation issues and drainage and irrigation problems. It simply cannot be that all these problems just materialized after 2nd August 2020. It was evident that the ‘farm’ pillar was not properly erected and were not given the transformative boost needed. It was clear that there will not be any plantains to manufacture the famous plantain chips and the attempts to grow non-traditional crops suffered many setbacks.
Fortunately, the Minister did not walk alone since he was not on an ‘excursion’ trip. Minister Zulfikar, upon listening to these myriads of problems immediately instructed the various members of his team to set upon the issues raised and resolve them as a matter of great urgency. The team comprised Dr. Homenauth from NAREI, Nizam Hassan from GRDB, Mr. Flatts from NDIA, the Regional Chairman and Vice Chairman and others. In addition, residents raised the issue of an excavator being used as the personal asset of an APNU member and the illegal distribution of over 800 acres to another. Immediately the excavator was transferred to the Region and the land issue came under investigation.
I am sure that the Fyrish story is another replica of what had manifested itself in various other villages which had strongly supported the Coalition. It was evident that Granger and his ministers just visited these villages to have fun unlimited. It was about big celebrations, pomp and pageantry and the next day is growling hungry bellies. They never cared to uplift the residents from the social and economic quagmire which engulfed and threatened their livelihoods, that which became widespread after 2015. They fooled and deceived them. They destroyed sugar and was in the process of doing so with rice and then they placated the situation by dangling the ‘oil money’ in front of them. The residents were clearly happy that the closed estates are being reopened and that Albion Estate, which provide employment to many residents from the village was saved from the Coalition’s guillotine. This Minister has already made a tremendous difference to the agriculture sector.
The Coalition never cared to put monies in the pockets of the people, in fact they took monies out.
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