The contractors contracted to clean the MMA/ADA drainage and irrigation canals used to employ up to four or five persons; nowadays many of these contractors don’t employ workmen at all.
They use spray cans and motorised blowers to spray the parapets and canals with dangerous herbicides. There are over three or four feet of rotten grasses with fish bones between them, and when farmers go to their fields many drink the very same water which could affect them.
I raised this issue with Dr Ramsammy, the Minister of Agriculture, at a Guyana Rice Producers Association meeting at Bush Lot School some months ago. He said he had heard about it, but nothing has been done about it up to now. No one who works at MMA/ADA should be given the contract to clean canals. The person who passes the works just looks at the back and front of the canals and passes the contractors’ dirty work. I am a rice farmer; I have 58 acres, and I don’t write letters on guesswork.
The Guyana Rice Producers Association should have a representative who checks that these canals have been properly cleaned before the work is passed. The Minister of Agriculture should instruct the MMA/ADA to ban contractors from using herbicides; they rob labourers from getting something. Some people are even afraid to use the fish caught in these canals.