Farmers appeal for review of Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Bill

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Farmers appeal for review of Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Bill
Farmers at a meeting
Farmers in attendance at UWP-organised meeting.

Nearly 200 farmers have decided to join forces in an effort to convince the government to repeal the Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Bill, which was passed in the House last week Tuesday.

This was one of the conclusions of a meeting held with the farmers by the United Workers Party on Wednesday in Ti Rocher, Micoud. The Party, after opposing the Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Bill stated that it was imperative to meet with the farmers to explain their findings.

Parliamentary Representative for Micoud South Arsene James expressed disappointment with the government and reiterated the need for the Agriculture and Incentives Bill to be repealed. According to him, farmers from all over the island are prepared to take all the necessary actions required to send a strong message to the government.

“Before the farmers left they decided to form a committee to discuss the issues in the bill, so that they could write a petition to the government, you know mobilise the farmers in the various constituencies; because they had one person from each of the constituencies – Dennery North, Vieux Fort North, Micoud North, Micoud South and Dennery South. They needed five persons to form that committee so that they can discuss their issues thoroughly and even make recommendations as to what they think should have been in that bill, and present this to government in the form of a petition or even a demonstration,” James explained.

UWP Executive at meeting with farmers.

UWP Chairman and former Minister for Agriculture Senator Ezechiel Joseph explained that with just over two years in office, the SLP Government is once again showing its true arrogant nature. He explained that the government continues to draft and implement policies without consulting the people.

“They’re demonstrating what I describe as quasi participation where they impose things on individuals and after they have done that then they come out to interact with individuals. The matter of fact is that these individuals have no choice now … no choice to influence what goes on in the bill … we’ve seen this being demonstrated on a number of occasions and the Agricultural Fisheries Incentives Bill is one of such,” Joseph noted.

Some of the farmers explained that they have not yet recovered from damages incurred from the passage of the Christmas Eve Trough of December 2013 and now, instead of providing assistance, the government has taken away everything they have left.

“Having heard the whole structure of the bill I felt it was very insultive. Actually he’s trying to exterminate farmers out of business. ..There’s no way those farmers, those poor farmers right now can really comply to the rules and regulations of that bill,” Farmer Steven Dornelly lamented.

Another farmer named Andrew Roberts who attended the meeting said, “There’re many small farmers in this country and you could find several water courses. One farmer for example can have three water courses on a three-acre farm and if he were to adhere strictly to this requirement so that he can qualify for incentive it just would not be possible.”

Other members of the United Workers Party, including Political Leader, Allen Chastanet also addressed the farmers.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. If the Government was really serious about bill to develop Agriculture would they at the very least have it on their website or that of the Press Secretary or any other public medium? I think this is an indictment on this Administration as things which we percieve where consultation or information is to be dispersed it has appeared to be concealing its contents. Where can an ordinary farmer go to read this bill that the Government is proposing? I guess they can only hear different parts of it from the Politicians mouth.

    I am sure if it was a roro or something to do with nothing it would be all over ther dammnnnnn place. Moronic

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  2. It is almost certain that you people hve been living in town too long you should try the country for while and see how the country feeds itself. The farmers are not arguing about whether rivers & streams should be protected it is more an issue of how we can balance the use of the resource. And for those who are a little ignorant when it comes to farming we can use the resource to do organic farming cause there are some crops which actually contribute to the quality of the watershed. When Governments impose a bill carte blance without evaluating a situation there will always be issues. Most of the farmers who feed the country do not have a 5 acre plot. Government should instead be engaging the farmers on issues as an agricultual land policy and others if they are really committed to getting the best from farming. We are an islan of river valleys most of or food is produced by peasant farming how much will such a law help a farmers' cause. Did the Government pass that law taking into consideration the topology and land use of the country.
    To the ordinary person is not a question trying to debunk someonelse's claims but it is whether the person is affeted. We should stop all this cheap political talk which is urging everybody to grab what they can while St. Lucia is on fire. In a small country with scarce resources we should balance all competing interest and not trat eveybody like fools as with such comment that are made.

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  3. Politicians in opposition will do and say anything to make the sitting government look bad. You'll should advise the farmers to make beds over the rivers to plant.

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  4. why is it so hard for the uwp and Farmers to understand that you can not have a farm never to a water course it is wrong and nothing will make it write all they want is to get farm up in arms without saying the truth of the matter is simply we don't have enough water on the island and we keep having less and less useable water and farming is mainly to blame if anything the government took way to long to inact this law I hope st Lucia understand we really don't have water to have any farm more then 25ft next to a water course its about time we start fixing the wrong for so many years

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  5. What part of the bill do you all object to? The part that seeks to protect the waterways of St. Lucia from further dumping of weedicide and pesticide waste? Or the part that seeks to elevate the standards of local agricultural practice? Talk about opposing for opposing sake!!
    And since two wrongs can never make a right, don't even try to think of the typical response to the exclamation preceding!

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