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Rice farmers charged with riotous behaviour

FLASH BACK: Fire set by protesting rice farmers at Three Friends village, Essequibo Coast

Nineteen rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast were Tuesday arraigned for allegedly being involved in riotous behavior during a protest to press demands for millers to swiftly settle all outstanding payments for paddy.

Among those appearing before Anna Regina Magistrate, Sunil Scarce were the Chairman of the Essequibo Paddy Farmers Association, Naith Ram and the Secretary of the Association, Tage Sewcharran. Ram is also a Region Two Councillor for the small opposition Alliance For Change (AFC).

In addition to riotous behavior, Ram,53, of Bush Lot and Sewcharran,55, of Devonshire Castle were charged with assault with intent to resist lawful apprehension, speaking at a public meeting where a noisy instrument was used without permission, and holding a meeting in a public place in respect of which no notice had been given to the appropriate officer of police. The offences were allegedly committed on July 4,2014 at Three Friends and Land of Plenty, Essequibo Coast.

Ram and Sewcharran were granted GUY$20,000 bail for assaulting the peace officers and they and the 17 others were each granted GUY$5,000 bail for holding a meeting without permission. They were also ordered to report to the Anna Regina Police Station each Saturday.

The others  charged were Dhanniram Naipaul, Chait Lall Bridge Lall, Naheem Mohamed, Ganesh Motilall, Bhim Singh, Nazerdeen Kamrudeen, Rabindra Ramotar- all of Reliance Village-Sahif Ally, Poashan Gaylall, Dennis Raymond, Sohanlall Raymond and Vishnu Raymond all of Land of Plenty as well as Naresh Ramlall of Three Friends and Harilall Persaud of Annandale.

Police said the 19 men have to return to court on August 05, 2014. Additional charges are likely to be made.

After a group of men refused to stop blocking the Essequibo Coast road and began burning tires and other objects, police fired teargas and seized several vehicles including tractors and trailers.

Government has assured that the private millers would pay the farmers all outstanding monies in the coming days.