Prasad said his arrest and incarceration in a police station cell along with other politicians was an insult.
On Monday, the Prime Minister described the NFP and its leadership a sham.
“Let me make it very clear, my arrest and incarceration in a police station cell for a total of 30 hours that ended on the night of Sunday 11th September along with others, especially a trade unionist who also twice served as Leader of NFP, was an insult to the many thousands of our supporters. This was done under the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012, one of the many Decrees that violate fundamental human rights and freedoms. The NFP Management Board decided and rightly so that we do not attend the opening of Parliament the next morning because violation of fundamental rights and freedoms under parliamentary democracy must be condemned in the strongest manner. Even if it were “orders from the top” as we were told by police, true, we could have been treated differently, instead of being arrested from our homes in front of our families, causing them mental anguish, psychological trauma. To them this was intimidation and political persecution.” said Prasad
Prasad also spoke on the need for both the government and the opposition to work together to save the sugar industry
“There is no question that in the past 10 years, all the production indicators have fallen badly. We produced 220,000 tonnes of sugar from last year’s crop, down from 310,000 in 2006 – 30 per cent less. We grew 1.8 million tonnes of cane in 2016, down from 3.2million in 2006 – 44 per cent less. The number of active growers has fallen by 5674 from 18,636 to 12,872. The only reason for the Prime Minister’s anger with the NFP is that we are questioning the value of his Government’s so-called reforms. We are doing so not to bring down the Government.
We are doing so because long experience has told us what will work in the industry and what will not. Madam Speaker, We have asked the Government to join hands with us and work together to save the industry. But the Government, as usual, wants to do things its way. It believes that it will get it right and claim all the political credit. It does not see the value of co-operation of a dissenting view. And it does not care if it is wrong – it will just think of another trick instead to cover up its mistakes. The sugar industry is made up of thousands of growers. If they do not actively participate in it, there is no industry. It is as simple as this.” said Prasad