Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2014 Contents A10
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 17, 2014
Just as all rivers merge in the ocean, all branches of
education end in spiritual education. You must expe-
rience that kind of totality and merge with Divinity.
Traditions and truths are being separated into various
groups and the vicious syndrome of dislike for one
person towards the other has come into existence.
However, not just in the past, even in the present,
there are quite a few people who conduct themselves
as per the traditional rules and guidelines with purity
to attain the ultimate goal in life. The means to libera-
tion, in Krita Yuga was Meditation (Dhyanam), in
Tretha Yuga was performing ritualistic worship
(Yagna), in Dwapara Yuga it was worship (Archana),
and in the present Kali Yuga, it is chanting the Name
of the Lord (Namasmarana). Any or all of these meth-
ods, when followed with utmost sincerity and devo-
tion, will help one achieve the ultimate goal of life
which is Liberation (Moksha).
What is the best way to
escape from the cycle of
birth and death? Bhagawan
lovingly explains to us
Without surrender, there can be no liberation. So long as
you cling to the "I", the four prison walls will close in on
you. Cross out the "I" and you are free. - Baba
Food Production Minister Devant
Maharaj is advising farmers to "seek legal
redress in the courts" to recover $800,000
owed to them by the T&T Agri-Business
"My advice to them is to go to a lawyer...
not me. TTABA has assets. Let them take
assets," Maharaj said, in response to reports
that scores of the TTABA s contracted farm-
ers were seeking his intervention to help
retrieve the outstanding payments. He said
while his heart went out to the affected
farmers, there was nothing he could do.
"Not one of those farmers came to the
ministry or me and asked for advice. You
pay them and what would you do with the
produce? You can t get rid of it."
He said the farmers should not have affil-
iated themselves with TTABA in the first
place, and may very well have to cut their
losses and move on.
Cassava farmers Steve Mano, Salim Lang-
too and Mohanlal Kissoonsingh claim
TTABA collectively owes them $73,000,
while farmer Yagram Ramkissoon said the
company refused to accept the 50,000
pounds of cassava he was contracted to cul-
Ramkissoon said the cassava was rotting
in his five-acre field in central Trinidad and
he had been unable to pay his bank loans
and support his family.
$250 million spent on TTABA
TTABA was established in May 2006 by
private sector agri-business stakeholders
with support from Government to accelerate
national economic and social development
through sustainable expansion of the agri-
In 2012, Maharaj stopped TTABA s sub-
ventions, stating the organisation was a
runaway horse since there were no checks
and balances or accountability.
The subventions were stopped after a
November 2011 systems audit by the Central
Audit Committee of the Ministry of
Finance s Investments Division showed that
TTABA had incurred $49.6 million in net
losses in commercial operations, with an
additional $23 million spent on non-com-
mercial activities. This added up to $72.6
millions over four years.
TTABA s losses in commercial operations
increased from $4.2 million in 2008 to $14.8
million in 2011.
"TTABA is a not-for-profit organisation
which the ministry has no interest in and
if they run their business to the ground that
is for TTABA to handle," Maharaj said.
He said the organisation had no links
with the Government.
"The PNM spent $250 million with them
and they have nothing to show for it."
Asked if Government would rescue the
farmers and their crops, Maharaj said: "That
was a private arrangement. If we were to
get involved, a precedent would be set which
could be devastating and dangerous because
it would mean that anyone who enters a
private relationship with a private company,
if the private company buss as a result of
corruption, people would come to the Gov-
ernment for help."
Told that tonnes of cassava were being
wasted, Maharaj said: "That is why the
ministry has various programmes for farmers
to participate in."
Farmers in limbo
Mano, Langtoo, Kissoonsingh and
Ramkissoon are four of several farmers who
signed two-year contracts to supply TTABA
with cassava at $2 a pound for grades A
and B, while grade C was priced at $1 a
Cassava farmers owed $800,000
Mano said the farmers had about $3 million worth
of cassava decaying in their fields because TTABA
had significantly slashed its intake of commodities
Due to a glut of cassava on the market, the farmers
said, buyers at the Norris Deonarine Wholesale Market
in Macoya were rejecting the crop.
Continued on Page A11
Devant: Go to a lawyer, not me
Cassava farmer Steve Mano,
left, displays his contract with
the Trinidad and Tobago Agri-
Business Association (TTABA).
Looking on are farmers Yagram
Ramkissoon, centre, and Salim
Langtoo. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj.
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