Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat has dismissed as ‘ignorant,’ claims made by Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit, concerning the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO).
Speaking at UNC’s virtual media conference on Sunday, Mohit asked if NAMDEVCO was providing any COVID-19 food support other than the food baskets that are currently being distributed to needy citizens.
She said she had been sent two cheques, dated May 21, which showed payments being made by NAMDEVCO. One cheques was for $244.85 and the other, $923.90.
As a result, she asked “Is NAMDEVCO distributing cheques and can the board of NAMDEVCO state what these cheques are for?”
“Is the Minister of Agriculture aware of the operations of NAMDEVCO, which is under his purview, as it relates to the issuance of cheques?
Mohit said her issue was not that people were receiving assistance and accessing food for their households, but the party wanted to find out if the cheques were another option for people to obtain food.
However, Rambharat said the cheques represented wage payments made on May 21st to casual labourers employed at NAMDEVCO’s Chaguanas facility.
He said “It’s a shame that MP Mohit will use her ignorance of what a wage payment looks like to embarrass her own constituents and refer to their hard-earned wages as COVID-relief.”
Rambharat later showed cheque numbers paid to six people from NAMDEVCO. Three of those people were paid $244.85 and the other three were paid $923.90. The purpose listed on the document for the payments was “Net wages for work at WLF.”
The NAMDEVCO cheques were not the only issues raised by Mohit.
She also posed questions about the Food Card programme, which was due to be provided to Members of Parliament for distribution.
Mohit said she nor her UNC Parliamentary colleagues were aware of the number of food cards available to them for distribution in their constituencies.