Last Updated on Monday, 1 February 2021, 16:50 by Denis Chabrol
The Ministry of Agricultute on Monday finally released the name of the new trawler licensee, weeks after repeated calls had failed.
Governmenr said the disclosure was made “in order to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”
He is Rampersaud Sookhdeo, La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara.
The Agriculture Ministry said records indicate that Mr. Sookhdeo has been in the fishing industry for over fifteen years. Additionally, the ministry said it was operating under the name Haseed Enterprise in Trinidad and Tobago. He
owns four trawlers- shrimp, red snapper, cage fishing, long liner fishing.
The Agriculture Ministry defended Minister Zulfikar Mustapha’s decision not to disclose the name to the National Assembly when he was asked by opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change Khemraj Ramjattan about the number of trawler licenses that were granted for 2020- 2021.
“Minister of Agriculture answered all the questions posed with as much candor and frankness as possible but did not disclose the name of the recipient of the licenses, in keeping with extant Parliamentary practices which have been sustained and upheld by repeated rulings of different Speakers of the House,” the ministry said.
Government said Mr. Sookdeo employs a number of Guyanese in his operations but was forced to relocate from Trinidad to Guyana because of Covid-19 restrictions and regulations.
Furthermore, Minister Mustapha reportedly met with members of the Guyama Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors (GATOSP) on January 22, 2021 during
which a number of issues were raised.
“Both parties decided that there should be a committee established to properly resolve issues and determine the way forward. Members of the committee, which will be convened by the Ministry’s Director General, Madanlall Ramraj, include RubenCharles, Leslie Ramalho, Dawn Maison of the GATOSP, the Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts and the Chief Technical Officer, George Jervis.
The Minister says he is committed to working and consulting with all stakeholders in the industry to ensure the sustainable development of the sector.