Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha addressing fisherfolk at the Annandale seashore.
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha on Wednesday said every effort would be made to ensure only fisherfolk receive the GY$150,000 one-off cash grant to assist with rising cost of operations.
Interacting with fisherfolk at one of the seashores, he said only legitimate persons would be able to draw down the money and even if one person owns several boats, he or she would get one disbursement. “If an owner gets twenty boats, he won’t get twenty times because some people they will do this thing,” he said.
Mr. Mustapha said after the list of fisherfolk is compiled, it would be taken back to the group at Annandale, in this case, for it be verified. “If anyone’s name is on the list wrongfully, we will strike it off… so we have to have a list that is transparent; a list of the people, who indeed need the benefit , of the people who are working in the sector, will get that benefit,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister said he did not want a repeat of the fiasco with the cash grants that had been disbursed to persons who fraudulently claimed that they were farmers. “We had issue with the flood relief with farmers. I don’t want this thing to happen in the fishing sector,” he said.
Mr. Mustapha indicated that he would have preferred to see a system in which only licenced fishing boat owners would be able to receive the cash grant. “If you are licenced, we would have a database but there are some boats that are not licensed so let us ensure that we do it very properly. Everybody will receive it but we’ll have to do it in a transparent way,” he said.
He said the owner and all the workers on every boat would receive a cash grant after the verification process. “We haven’t started the payment yet. Don’t try to smart the system or you will get caught,” he said.
More than 5,000 fisherfolk across Guyana are expected to benefit from the payout.