Please permit me space in your newspaper to publish this letter on rice farmers‘ concerns within the Charity-Zorg-en-Vlygt District on the Essequibo Coast.
In 2006, when the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Agriculture implemented initiatives for the formation of the Water Users Associations across a1l rice growing districts this was welcomed by rice farmers and seen as important to the managing of their affairs in collection of the drainage and irrigation rates and maintenance structures etc.
In 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture formed the Charity–Zorg-en-V1ygt Water Users Association from selected persons to manage the drainage and irrigation system within the forty-three villages in the boundaries of the association.
In the first few months of management of the association, things used to be normal in every aspect since every selected member was given a mandate letter in June 30, 2008, a copy of the Delegation Agreement and the By-laws of the Charity-Zorg-en-Vlygt Water Users’ Association.
In the Delegation Agreement it was clearly spelt out in Article 6 Rights and Responsibilities of the NDIA. Statutes in Chapters, Articles and Sub-articles have now been totally breached by the association in relation to contracting procedures, no tendering of contracts, conflicts of interest and excessive spending.
This Charity–Zorg-en-Vlygt Water Users Association’s track record needs to be looked at since there is only one rate collector and one sweeper/cleaner both receiving forty-seven thousand dollars as employees’ salary per month while records revealed that one member of the Association bas employed himself and is paying himself a salary of forty thousand dollars a month along with a stipend of fifteen thousand dollars per month plus phone bills, travelling and gas bills for doing nothing in the office.
It was brought to the attention of scores of farmers within the Association district that there were irregular activities being done by some members of the Association.
It is evident according to records that one member bas been drawing $55,000 per month as salary and stipend and not to mention his extravagant spending per month. From July 2008 to date this individual has been manipulating the Charity-Zorg-en-V1ygt Water Users Association and the rice farmers are calling on the relevant authority for new management.