Would you like milk with that?
January 21, 2004
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Minister of Agriculture Satyadeow Sawh is under the spotlight but not in the way he normally likes to be (on the front page of the Chronicle shaking the hoof of a genetically altered sheep).
The outburst by a certain accused about his milk-drinking under the PPP and black-tea sipping under the PNCR has serious implications for the government. That is, apart from the man's atrocious grammar reflecting poorly on the education system.
Phone records that Wednesday Ramblings' investigative department has in its possession indicate that on a number of occasions the accused had telephoned Minister Saturdayeow Sawh (as Sharma likes to call him), sometimes late at night at his residence as part of a covert campaign to push local dairy production and target black-tea drinkers. WR is reliably informed that Sawh directed a wide network of members who would drive around in canters; rush into people's homes, identify themselves as part of the Dairy Squad Unit and hand out cartons of local milk. At times, they would demand all the powdered milk in the home, slash open the sachets and dash the contents in the nearest trench.
These incidents have occurred over the last eighteen months and left many homes deeply traumatised but also intrigued by the rich creamy taste and wholesome goodness of local pasteurised milk.
Yesterday, Sawh, speaking to reporters while thigh deep in a tilapia pond, dismissed the charges as mere allegations while assuring the public that the nation's milk supply was safe and production was up 130% from last year. He said he knew nothing about any so- called "Dairy Squad" and said the matter must be properly investigated. However, he said if those comments by the accused were accurate then he should be commended for his dedication to the agricultural sector and any sentence should reflect this. He said the accused's statement "is milk I drinking" could be a catchy phrase for a future marketing programme.
Stabroek News understands that Sawh was responsible for handing out pasteurised milk supplies to several individuals as well as yoghurt and various types of local cheeses, including a powerful cheddar. He would keep these in a refrigerator in his office.
The PNCR at a press conference said it was not against the promotion of milk as long as it was done legitimately using the proper channels and personnel. The party accused Sawh of circumventing the National Dairy Development Programme in his haste to foil black-tea drinkers.
Barging into homes even if it were to hand out milk was an invasion of privacy and it denied people the fundamental right to drink black tea if they so desired.
As for the PNCR being a party of black- tea drinkers, this was vehemently denied. To prove the point the whole central executive lined up before the reporters and proceeded to drink what was indeed very milky tea although it was apparent some of them were making faces.
The PNCR also denied that milk was in short supply during its era and recalled that the milk pasteurisation plant in Kingston under the control of the Don of Dairy Production, Lie Chin, produced 1500 gallons per day. It was the PPP's own supporters, private businessmen who had over the years been smuggling in dangerous quantities of powdered milk and distributing it along the coast, and had caused the decline in the industry. Every housewife from Charity to Crabwood Creek was now armed with a tin of Fernleaf or Dutch Girl.
But the PPP in a press release said it was mighty rich of the PNCR to talk about the right to choose when it had locked up people for having flour, sardines and corn beef during its 28-year despotic reign. "The party remembers well chewing for hours on rice flour roti." They said the accused was typical of many people whose lives had been transformed by the PPP's time in office.
Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon speaking at a weekly press briefing and slurping on a very tall banana milkshake, said the matter was generating much interest in the Office of the President and suggested the Cabinet would be considering the matter at its weekly meeting over coffee (white with brown sugar naturally).
Most extraordinary statement of the week
Founder of the new ARC party, Eddie Da Silva at the official launch said "he is not willing to reveal the names of the other members of the ARC because he is afraid they may be victimised." Talk about courage.