Burma research personnel did not find the real cause of rice plants devastation

Dear Editor,

With regards to my letter of August 14, 2018 pertaining to the issue of a strange outbreak of rice disease in the Hague rice cultivation community on the West Coast Demerara in Region Three, I wish to say that my letter portrayed actual present-day occurrences.

I never thought of misleading the public with what has been happening to Mr. Omar Dhany’s rice cultivation and his approach to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) sub-regional officials and their responses to the farmer’s complaint. My letter was never meant to create false impressions of GRDB’s officials, but to give them a wakeup call before it was too late to confront this threatening rice disease.

The purity of my intentions will remain steadfast, because I never deviate from the truth of the whole issue. Let me add that if the Guyana Times newspaper did not carry a story of what has been happening on the plots of Mr. Omar Dhany’s rice fields, no hurried action would have been taken by Burma Research Officials. The hurried visit came only after the Times article and accompanying photographs of the damaged rice plots. On that very day, research personnel visited to take samples and we were lectured on what presumably might have been the cause of our problems.

The entomologist and her team comprising of personnel from Burma came and went into the infected plot and did the routine field inspection of Mr. Omar’s damaged rice plants. They uprooted some rice plants and brought out one bucket of water, strained same and found some known harmful and some harmless insects. They also washed the roots of the rice plants and came up with some dead root worms.

The norms of research practices were compromised by discarding the plants, water and washed off soil on the spot. I feel that the samples should have been taken back to Burma for further scientific lab analysis. This very careless act is a very convincing display of professional ineptitude of their behaviour. This tells us that no one cares about the farmers’ plight. My conclusion is that they came and they found what they routinely looked for, but they did not find the real cause of the rice plants devastation and we are not pleased with this dead-end situation. We need, and we demand an in-depth investigation that can be deemed comprehensive.

I must comment on Mr. Nizam Hassan’s statement in response to my letter published by Stabroek News on August 14, 2018.1 have to say that in order to protect your status as General Manager of GRDB and Personnel at Burma Rice Research Station you have proven to me, that with some degree of practice, you have indeed become a fabulous “Spin Doctor” and this adds to the number of professional spin-doctors within the hierarchy of GRDB’s operatives.

However, I fully stand by the contents of my published letter and I can vigorously defend same at any forum chosen by you and your board of directors. We may be deemed simpletons but we can competently defend ourselves and our causes. In closing, I should tell you to stop ceremoniously defending your not too competent personnel. It can very well boomerang to your personal dishonour and displacement.

Let the rice industry remain safe in competent hands, we all, as a people, depend on its successful future.

Yours faithfully,

Ganga Persaud (Bobby)

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