More than $90M was spent to convert lands at Naarstigheid and Catherine’s Lust, Region Five into a “Model Farm”. However, the returns of that investment represent a meagre $1.4M, the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (LG&RD) Nigel Dharamlall told the National Assembly this afternoon.
He was at the time responding to questions posed to him by Members of Parliament as the House deliberates the estimates of expenditure for Budget 2020.
“[O]ver $90M spent and only $1.4M reaped in produce and sold…That is an injustice to this budget, that is an injustice to the resources, [and] that is an injustice to the taxpayers of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” the Minister said.
The model farm was established back in 2016. Farmers that once occupied those lands were forced to vacate. The former Regional Executive Officer (REO), Ovid Morrrison saw the removal of over 50 farmers. During the removal process, produce was destroyed. This resulted in litigation, with Attorney-at-Law, now Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall representing the farmers.
The Stabroek News on August 24, 2020, reported that during a meeting last month, the farmers were informed that they will be allowed to return to the lands.
“I am here to tell you that we have instructed the RDC (Regional Democratic Council) to put you back on the land but it will have to be done in a processed way. Each of you will get a plot of land in this vicinity”, Nandlall was quoted as saying to the farmers.
Nandlall then sought to remind the farmers that the land ultimately belongs to the state hence they should not attempt to sell to others.