Dear Editor,Local rice exporters are extremely horrified, threatened and apprehensive by the recent action of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) which seeks to monopolise the sale of rice to only two Jamaican companies. But it is apparent that there are conflicting positions on this matter. The GRDB’s General Manager had said that “any company can export to and import from Jamaica, meaning buyers and sellers who meet the GRDB criteria will not be hindered in any way nor will it be hindered in any way nor will it limit importation into Jamaica to two Jamaican companies” (Guyana Chronicle April 25, 2016). On the other hand, the Agriculture Ministry’s website has made it clear that ‘the GRDB is the facilitator and the rice industry is owned by the Private Sector’. (www.agriculture.gov.gy/grdb)Furthermore, the General Manager of the GRDB, Nizam Hassan (former General Manager of Guyana Marketing Corporation), in a press release had claimed that the actions of the GRDB is supported by the GRDB Act 1994 – he said that the approval of contracts is in accordance with the Act. He further stated that “the GRDB Act states clearly the procedure which should be taken when entering into a contract for the supply and sale of paddy and other products of paddy”.However, what he fails to acknowledge is the fact that the GRDB does not have the mandate according to the Act to enter into such contractual arrangements purportedly on behalf of rice millers. It must be stated that rice exporters were not even party to this negotiation – so how can this contract be even made on their behalf? It was literally pushed down their throats! Is the General Manager stating that the GRDB is a rice miller? It is the GRDB that entered into the contract with the two Jamaican companies. Both the Agriculture Ministry website and the GRDB’s website are again clear on this matter when they state that the function of the GRDB is to work along with stakeholders in export and trade facilitation. In fact, the GRDB has a department which is solely responsible for the preparation of all relevant documentation for the exporting of rice from Guyana. They also assist in the facilitation of foreign investors in the purchase of Guyana’s rice and other rice products.These websites are in direct agreement with the Guyana Rice Development Board Act Chapter 72:01 Section 4. This Section makes it clear that the GRDB should promote the expansion of the export trade in the rice industry, to facilitate the export of paddy and rice, to establish mechanisms and systems to assist rice producers to export rice and paddy and to provide assistance in negotiating and entering into contracts with foreign governments, agencies or persons for the export of paddy and rice and to engage in such activities which appear to the Board to be necessary for the purpose of increasing the export rice and paddy.Hence, it is submitted that the GRDB has no legal jurisdiction to actually negotiate and enter into contracts to export rice-it can provide assistance!Furthermore, this illegal and counter-trading act by the GRDB seeks to contravene, once again, its mandate in the GRDB Act. Section 4, subsection (5)(g) gives the GRDB the mandate ‘to monitor and guide the development of the rice industry having regard to changes in the export markets for rice and other products of paddy, paddy and products of rice’.The GRDB, as one of its criteria to export to the Jamaican rice market is guilefully trying to delete branding and is insisting that rice millers supply white rice in bulk. What is the hidden agenda of the GRDB? This criterion cannot be seen as a ‘development’ of the rice industry. It is an established fact that branding is the key to business success and it requires huge amounts of financial and human resources to create and launch a successful brand. In effect, the GRDB is wilfully killing the growth of the rice industry. In today’s business world, product differentiation and branding is vital for the growth and development of the rice industry. It is only by creating and maintaining successful brands of rice that we will ensure our long-term market growth and survival on the international market scene.This new development which will negatively affect one of the largest entrepreneurs and rice millers in Berbice and Guyana – Nand Persaud and Company – locally and internationally famous for its Karibee Brand of rice. This Company has taken more than 20 years and millions of dollars to create and promote an enduring brand name which is not only highly famous and a household name in Guyana but in the Caribbean and many parts of the world. It is a travesty to good business practice that such a prestigious brand name should be sacrificed by policymakers of the GRDB who have shown no concern for the long-term survival and development of the rice industry.To deliberately destroy a successful brand name will greatly affect the competitive nature of business since this is what spurs efficiency in production, improvement in quality and in the effective marketing of products and services. The GRDB should be aware that bulk selling is injurious to rice millers who have spent time and money to ensure that their products are of superior quality and can secure a huge market share. This will also serve to hide poor quality and will result in giving the rice industry a bad reputation. This act of destroying a successful brand name is definitely taking the rice industry back to the dinosaur age!I am calling on the Government and specifically, the Business Minister, the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association, the Guyana Manufacturing Association and the Private Sector Commission, to intervene and protect the businesses affected by this capricious and detrimental action by the GRDB. Are the GRDB officials willing to circumvent their legal mandate in pursuit of self-aggrandisement?Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufCouncillor, Region Six
Dear Editor,With the upcoming Mash season and its importance to the viability of the economy, no time must be wasted in putting a stop to the crime wave taking place. If not properly nipped in the bud, it will damage the livelihoods of many small businesses and their communities, as Mash season is extremely important to the income of many families and sets the tone for the economy throughout the year.It’s time for the Police to have a strong presence on the roads as well as the implementation of checkpoints by both the Police and the military. No opportunities to manoeuvre or room for escape should be allowed these criminals. They are showing an utter lack of concern for the power of the justice system and the strength of the Police and military in this country. It’s time for zero tolerance for these offenders. His Excellency is a pillar in the armed forces and these criminals should feel the heavy hand of justice upon them as soon as possible. All deportees should be rounded up and made to check in with the relevant authorities as well as those on parole as required by the court. No further gaps in follow up with criminal elements should be tolerated and the strength of public involvement should be encouraged even more. The country is too small for these criminals to be able to get away with such heinous acts for that long of a time.Best regards,Jamil Changlee
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla will miss the rest of the English Premier League (EPL) season due to an ankle injury.The Spaniard has not played since October when pain caused him to leave the field during the UEFA Champions League’s group stage game against Bulgarian side Ludogorets 0-6, reports Efe on Thursday.Cazorla was operated in December and was expected to recover within three months.Last season, he was off the pitch for seven months because of a knee injury.Cazorla, whose contract concludes at the end of this season, joined the Gunners in 2012.
James Rodriguez missed training on Saturday and a scan showed that he had minor swelling of his right calf, three days before a last-16 match against England at the World Cup.But Colombia playmaker is not as badly injured as feared, raising the possibility he could feature in Tuesday’s clash.Rodriguez, who was the top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, has been bothered by the injury since the start of the tournament in Russia.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEThe Colombian Football Federation (FCF) issued a statement in the early hours of Sunday giving an update on Rodriguez.”James Rodríguez underwent a scan today which showed that he is suffering from minor edema (swelling caused by an accumulation of fluid) in his right leg, but that there has been no muscle tear,” the FCF said.Rodriguez left the field in the 31st minute of Colombia’s 1-0 victory over Senegal on Thursday night, but his injury has never been officially disclosed as the reason for the substitution.The South American team faces England on Tuesday at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.Before training on Saturday, midfielder Carlos Sanchez and backup goalkeeper also didn’t shed any light on Rodriguez’s recuperation.”James is a leader, but I’m also sure that if James isn’t there, there are others who can step in and make the difference,” Sanchez said. “Each member of the team’s squad is here to play and they have the experience.”Rodriguez missed two training sessions before Colombia’s first group match against Japan and didn’t start in the 2-1 loss. He was fit enough to play a full 90 minutes in the second match against Poland in the 3-0 win.advertisementWith Colombia facing England on Tuesday, the possibility that Rodriguez wouldn’t be fit enough to play would be a major headache for coach Jose Pekerman.”It’s not a secret to anybody what James means for us, not only in football terms, but for the group. But I stand by what Carlos says,” Camilo Vargas said. “At the level of the national team, everyone has the hope of giving their best.”Whatever happens, all 23 players have that dream.”(With Reuters inputs)