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expressed disappointment with the government and reiterated the need for the Agriculture and Incentives Bill to be repealed.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 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.