In nearly 70 commentaries I have raised
certain issues some of which have not been resolved.
The first one has to do with the way our
Drainage and Irrigation board operates. Our drainage and irrigation board has
as its Chairman Mr. Ravi Narine, Mr. Narine is a major owner of SRKNgeering,
which receives huge contracts from the government through the central tender
board, I have repeatedly asked Mr. Narine to decide if the wants to be a
businessman or a public servant, he cannot be both. Additionally Mr Narine
still owes us several explanations as to why he allowed Tiwari to destroy the
Lama dam, since it was he who was responsible on behalf of the ministry of
agriculture for supervising the execution of the contract. SRKNgeenering has
just bid on a 2 million US dollar D&I contract, I have little doubt that
they will get this contract, thereby making the central tender board a farce.
It is not as if Narine is a great chairman of the D&I board warranting us
having to tolerate him as its chairman, he is not!
B.K Tiwari having been surcharged 50
million dollars for executing the 400 Million reconstruction of the lama dam
badly, has not only not paid the money but he has taken the government
to court in the matter; this government nevertheless has given BK another $250
million contract at Skeldon to construct the site for the new sugar factory, [which
we do not need].
In Barbados they would demand and get the resignation of the entire government.
In the US they would haul the
whole lot of them into the congress for hearings on the matter, in England they would jail them. This matter
is far from over, the Lama conservancy holds water at 58 ft GD it was supposed
to be reconstructed to hold water at 62 GD, 4 ft higher, ladies and gentlemen
the Lama is incapable of holding water at 56 GD now, due to the damage done to
it by Tiwari. Very soon now when the citizens of Georgetown cannot get water, this government will not have to resign, they
will have to flee the country. It has, and is, continuing to be a very dry year
only 2 and a half inches of rain has fallen for the year so far and this is
March, rain is not expected until May/June. Start buying your tickets for the US boys or start praying if you know how.
There is no question that the rainfall
pattern is changing, last year we got a total of 55 inches of rain, the average
for Versailles over the past
hundred years was 90 inches. Hardly the time to allow anyone Tiwari, Ravi Narine,
the PPP, to award a corrupt contract, incompetently executed to the detriment
Synergy, the company which was given a
license by this government to build a hydro dam in July 2002, continues to wait
on GP&L to undertake to buy hydropower from them, so that they can go ahead
and build the US$312 million hydro electric facility at Amelia falls. This Hydro
is important to this country, GP&L is not, they should be paid the 20 US
dollars million US they want, then pay it back to us since the PUC says that they
owe it to us, and be put on the first available plane back to the UK, in the cargo section of the plane.
Since all they have been to this country is expensive baggage.
We continue along the disastrous path
of building another sugar factory, the world market price of sugar is now 7US
cents a pound Berbice produces at 17 US cents a pound, and Demerara produces at
21 US cents a pound. There is disaster written all over this folly. Jagdeo is
like a little child running blindly toward the edge of a cliff and will not
listen to the adults shouting danger.
We should invest this money to build a
proper road to Brazil, there is
much more potential for us as partners with the Brazilians with and this road
and a port agreement for the Brazilin produce. I was totally astonished when I
saw Minister Xavier proudly showing us a mud and latterite dam which he proudly
proclaimed "to have a good camber" and which we all know will float away after
the first shower in May/June. Are we so completely mentally constipated that we
do not realise the potential of this road, and unless it can allow Brazilian 18
wheeler trucks to travel on it comfortably taking produce to and from Brazil to the Atlantic
Ocean through this country, we are just wasting time
and money. I will tell you why the PPP do not want this road, since the
Brazilian Company Paranapanema had it almost complete in 1992, but after coming
to power the PPP stopped it.
Under pressure from the Brazilians they
have now half heartedly given us this backdam road. Ladies and gentlemen if a
proper road is established between Guyana and Brazil enabling Brazilian
shipping traffic to pass through this country to the Ocean, it will create the
opportunity for settlement along the new highway, thousands of Guyanese living
in Brazil may return and settle along this road since it will become a hub of
commerce between the two nations, thousands of Brazilians may also do so and it
may have the effect of changing the balance of political power in the country,
I consider it obscene that any political party in power can hamper development
of any nation simply because of fear that it may create a situation where they
will lose political power.
Didco continues to flaunt environmental
requirements and have not cooperated with the EPA as to how they will dispose
of the chicken pen waste so that they do not contaminate the ground water on Yarrowkabara
Hill which can have the effect of contaminating the creek water of the two
creeks which form the basis of two eco tourist resorts Splashmins and Emerald Towers.
Mansoor Nadir is Minister of TRADE and TOURISM we know where his loyalty lies
now, don't we? Didco have 20 pens each capable of growing 32,000 chickens, so
we are talking about a lot of chicken dung here ladies and gentlemen almost the
same as at Freedom House, but let me ask this question having 640,000 chickens
growing in one place, what happens if there is an outbreak of disease? Bounty
farms finance and help 42 small scale chicken farmers and buy their produce, so
the potential for disease scattered around the country from 42 different
locations as they are, is not nearly as acute.
Talking about Didco, who allegedly
donated 15 million dollars to the PPP's 2001 election campaign and which
apparently now places them above the law, accountable to no one.
I still cannot believe the scenario I
see unfolding before us, Didco over the past 20 years have single-handedly
destroyed the local poultry industry by importing chicken from the US. Correia and several other poultry
farmers went out of business during that period, having completely destroyed
the local poultry industry Didco then incredibly decide to grow their chickens
here in Guyana, to accommodate them the government then effectively places a
ban on imported chicken by putting such a huge tax on it that it is no longer
competitive on the local market, the 140% tax imposed broke the WTO
regulations. How can a Minister of trade be so totally oblivious to the WTO
requirements? I will not go into the details of price adjustments that were
made to render this imported US
chicken completely uncompetitive in the local market, but I read with total
disbelief where Nadir accused the US of dumping their chicken here in Guyana, the men at the local US embassy were obviously overjoyed to hear this incredible stupidity.
Having obtained these huge concessions
Didco then turns on the other local producers and dumps their chicken in the Guyana market at prices which the others
cannot compete. Making a farce of Nadir's promise that growing chicken locally
will create jobs. If Didco puts all the small operators out of business since
their operation is so mechanized that they employ very few people, how will
this create jobs? I will tell you what it will do, It will create another
monopoly for one company to the detriment of the Guyanese public, since no jobs
will be created and the revenue from the imported chicken estimated at 1
billion dollars a year will be lost to this nation. So Mr. Nadir owes us many explanations
none of which he has answered adequately raising serious questions about his
motives in this matter. Didco's manager told us through the Stabroek News that quote
"what it costs them to produce a pound of chicken is no one's business but his".
Wrong manager, you are being protected
by the state, you are getting concessions which are robbing the Guyanese public
of 1 billion dollars in revenue a year, it IS our business and we want to know.
Of course when the Stabroek news asked Nadir and Didco that if they had the
ability to sell at $110 per Lb. why it was necessary to upset the US by putting this huge tax on their
chicken, there was a deafening silence. If Didco can produce at $110 per LB
there should have been NO reason to ban the US chicken. And any fool who attempts to tell me that there has NOT
been an effective ban on US chicken by attaching these huge import taxes on it,
will not get away with it. I am not paranoid and frankly I had not thought
about it, but when I heard Mr Corbin saying that all of this had to do with
damaging my brother financially to victimise me, I listened carefully and I
think that Mr. Corbin is right.
First we had Banum now we got Banoor.
I predict that this will end up with Didco having a monopoly on all local
chicken growing, then, they will raise the price out of reach of the poorer
Guyanese people, I also predict that there will be reprisals from the US. Have we learnt nothing over the past
40 years? If the US wants to
pressure us they can do so with impunity, but we are again walking on dangerous
ground compliments of the incompetence or dishonesty of Banoor Nadir. We can't
be condemning the US for
protecting their farmers and not giving us markets whilst at the same time doing
exactly the same thing. We have the sugar and rice industries to consider. Clement
Rohee is running all over the globe begging for markets for the local rice and
sugar and Nadir is sabotaging him here at home by a protecting Didco.