I write in response to a letter from Mr B Balkarran published on March 16 in Stabroek News, titled ‘Belle Vue co-op society land being taken over.’ Firstly a ‘petition’ – a term loosely used by Mr Balkarran – constitutes a document signed by the members of the co-op society. The document referred to by Mr Balkarran failed to meet this basic requirement, as it contained the signatures of persons who are not members of the co-op society. In addition, after extensive investigation it was noted that this document was not even sent to the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing Co-op Society but rather to Minister Nadir. How can any reasonable person expect an invalid document sent to a different location to be classified as a valid petition?
I am convinced that anyone would understand that the holder of a legitimate lease cannot trespass on the very property to which he/she has been awarded title. Furthermore, Mr Balkarran highlighted the fact that for over two years the members had been seeking to have an injunction filed to prevent the takeover and/or sale of the land, when neither of these thins was even possible until after November 2009, when arbitration took place and the award went in favour of the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Co-op Society.
It must be noted that Mr Balkarran should at least understand the purpose of the canefield dam beds. However, he alludes to the dam bed being bulldozed and flattened. There is no trace of such, as over the past months the dam bed has been vastly improved from its previous state of ruin. The dam bed has been built up and the entire area has been cleared after years of being heavily infested by weeds. This can be verified by the naked eye at any time.
The Constitution of the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing Co-op Society Article 12, speaks to the termination of membership, and Article 13 to the expulsion of members. The current distribution of the land is legitimately spread amongst 14 persons, which was duly confirmed at the general meeting held on June 5, 2010. This certainly does not constitute a hostile takeover. The available land was publicly advertized for months.
It is disturbing to think that someone would even consider mentioning the five-year development plan. This plan was deemed unrealistic when it was reviewed by the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing Co-op Society’s management, nor did its members not have the resources to support its implementation. It was no secret that the commercial bank was not prepared to support the needs of the plan.
Where was Mr Balkarran in the years 2008, 2009 and early 2010 when 40 sugarcane producing members had to subsidize the expenses of 15 non-active members to the tune of $2,750,216. Is that fair for farmers that work hard in their sugar cane fields? Now they do not have to subsidize anything.
Furthermore, Mr Balkarran is neither a member nor a farmer of the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing Co-op Society; he has been residing in Canada for a long time, and has not been keeping abreast of the co-op society’s development.
From the time we reallocated these abandoned lands to new members, about 200 acres have been cultivated with sugar cane; the society is improving its production. At the moment we are harvesting that sugar cane. The Belle Vue Cane Farmers Co-op Society leased these lands from GuySuCo, and GuySuCo wants sugar cane and not bush and weeds.
I implore that Mr Balkarran considers the accuracy of his information when making public statements. However, I still have room for him to reveal the sources of his statements.
Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing