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Impacted farmers, fishermen not priority

Minister responsible for Agriculture, Dr Kedrick Pickering during a meeting in the fishing community of Carrot Bay yesterday.

By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist

Fishermen and farmers whose livelihoods were severely impacted because of the hurricanes are being told that they will have to wait before they can get any financial assistance to jumpstart their trade.

Hurricane Irma wrecked several local fishing boats and leveled farmlands by wiping out crops and livestock, as well as destroying poultry coops and animal pens.

Minister responsible for agriculture Dr Kedrick Pickering, said farmers and fishermen have been placed at the bottom of the priority list and may not see a cent of financial assistance until the second quarter of next year.

“That’s a more practical time to say when we will get our hands on any kind of fund to be able to say we could help a fisherman or a farmer in a very direct way.”

“As of now, we can help in non-monetary ways but in terms of giving financial support at this point in time, that’s probably the best estimate that I could say,” Dr Pickering stated yesterday.

He was responding to concerned agriculture workers during a community meeting in Carrot Bay, which is a well-known fishing village in the BVI.

The minister explained that funds allocated to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour ­— under which agriculture falls — are being used to retrieve vessels that sunk during the hurricane.

It ain’t cheap

He described it as an expensive task for government, adding that uninsured vessels that are retrieved must then be shipped to other countries such as the United States to be stripped of parts and recycled.

“We (the Ministry) are responsible for the marine environment. All of the boats that are sunken anywhere in the BVI whether on Jost Van Dyke, Little Thatch, Peter Island, Virgin Gorda — that falls on us. That’s our responsibility to help to get those removed; especially those that are sunken and it ain’t cheap… Getting them out of the water is only one half of the story. Getting them out of the country is another.”

“That is consuming literally all the little money that we have to do anything in our Ministry,” Dr Pickering explained.

The agriculture minister further stated that other funds donated to government have to be pumped into more important areas.

“It’s one of those things that will be told to us in the Recovery Plan. Roads are more important and you got to get the roads fixed, you got to get the hospital fixed, you got to get the schools up and running.”

“It’s a question of budgetary allocation, so there is going to be some money allocated to fishing and farming but it’s not in the immediate set of money that we get,” said Dr Pickering.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

31 Comments

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  1. Smh says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

    Disappointed

    • Fake Beach says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 53 Thumb down 0

      Man waste millions on that fake beach

    • Albion says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • Wow says:

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

        Albion so food not important right.

        • TurtleDove says:

          Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

          Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

        • Albion says:

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          Food is important, but farmers and fisherman are not the main – or even a major – source of food.

          I am guessing if Government had come out and said “financial services and tourism are not a priority – instead we will focus on farmers and fishermen” everyone would still be out here complaining just as much.

  2. Well says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 4

    Like Fahie or not one must admit that the man is a leader.

  3. As usual says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 1

    The NDP government done put together a recovery plan without the input from the people and without food security at the top of the agenda. The Lord see for us because the famine just start.

  4. What ? says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

    So food security means nothing? Does this man think that vegetables will suddenly sprout overnight in the second quarter ? Beef cattle ,poultry just magically appear ? I bet he could find some dollars for the airport expansion.

    • Albion says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

      What food security? Almost all of our food is imported. All the farmers and fishermen together cannot produce even 10% of the food that the BVI needs.

  5. Accountability says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 65 Thumb down 1

    This minister has been given a free pass for too long. Has he shown anything that he has done for his two terms as a minister? Has done anything with agriculture or fishing? What has he done with labour? Employees are being knocked about by employers and you hear nothing from what him? Look at the beaches! Look at Brandywine Bay where he spent nearly 5million dollars on. Not even to get someone to rake up
    the beach since the hurricane. He spent 8million dollars on studies for the airport for what? Look at the green houses, he had them for 6 years and Irma come now and mash them all up. That’s 6million of the people’s hard-earned money. What has he done to help locals to hold on to their land. When is this particular person going to be held responsible for his performance? And now he expects a promotion to the highest office in the land for doing what! Then we wonder why some of our young people have the expectations that they do.

    • Hog Plum says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

      I truly wish that I could like this 100 times over. Where is his confidence in his own people? For him to say that farming and agriculture have been placed at the bottom of the list is absolutely insane. Dominica has already imported equipment, seeds and seedlings to get their agriculture back up and running.

      This is a sad day in the BVI and a crying shame.

  6. Smh says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

    That picture alone tells you that he doesn’t want to be there.

    • @SMH says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      Lord if he aint want to be there – he can more than go. The picture to me shows him as I always see him, stressed.

  7. Common sense says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

    This man is really a joke.
    Sorry to say..
    If our local food is not a priority… Then what is…

  8. Common sense. says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    Oh really.. If our local food is not a priority.. Then what is..

  9. Laura says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

    Government are mandated to ensure that the country in which they lead are provided with at all times, access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which should also be affordable, as a surplus of food is useless if the average citizen simply can’t afford to buy it.

    You can’t eat paved roads Doc.

    If no money is allocated to the farmers what is the substitute or alternative? Can the people be afforded the option of Aquaponics which can easily be set up at home and be the source of a small backyard garden, or create spaces for some community produce and vegetables at schools etc.

    What about the fishermen? Are they being thought new tricks or are we relying on the same old-fashioned way of doing things, such as the minor processing of fish. What about aquaculture? Has there been any discussions on innovation?

    Climate change is a major and growing threat to global food security but we have to meet the demand for food and not just meet it but develop best practice. We have been given a clean slate, we should be innovative and get the ball rolling on how to locally keep food on the shelves instead of importing pesticides. If we we don’t seize the moment and take the opportunity to invest in technology, in innovation, we are going to be sadly left behind and starving.

  10. Leader by default says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    Positive: Let us encourage our agriculture minister and department to import seeds to distribute to us to grow in our back yards. Lets encourage agriculture to plant seedlings like plantain, corn, onion, tomatoes, lettuce etc. for local consumption and sell to the hotels and restaurants.

  11. Rich white cronies run the show says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    Think about it…NDP spending money to haul trash out the water and man here telling them they can haul fish to feed to nation that is too heavily dependent on outside sources for food. I guess they are not interested in making this territory a self efficient one. They are more concerned with “saving the environment” and rather that saving their own people. Don’t get me wrong…the environmental go green agenda has its places but we humans are worth far more than sparrows. Honestly I can wait to get rid of this poor leadership

  12. Rich white cronies run the show# says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    And to think they spending money on importing trees and all sorts of nonsense for the beaches to be washed away with the next hurricane. We have enough coconuts you can plant and save money. Pickering your response shows why District 1 will remain a VIP stronghold for years to come.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    Fire their a$$ people, they aren’t doing their jobs. In the first case we haven’t had something so major in so long… WHERE IS THE MONEY?

    Look at the road NDP been trying to fix for far so long….. WHERE IS THE MONEY?

    There cruise ship pier what then just build and still ain’t give the contractor the rightful amount.. what they did with the rest? WHERE THE PEOPLE THEM MONEY?

    NDP full of sh–…

    Some people was selling before any of the BVI ports was open. HOW IS THAT?

    Work tools and other material was given to people who already has and not much damage was done to there home… NDP full a –it. People who is BVIslander suffering to because of the foolishness government put in place.

    After the flood they refuse help from the UK because they don’t want the Queen know what kind of mess they have down here.

    The business and people who have business that afford to pay NDP was given lumber to protect the rest they had. The poor always get scraps for leftover or even nothing at all…

    NDP works for the people and the people need to stand up for their rights.. This is wrong and sad!

    I refuse and will never vote for them in my life and is not everyone in NDP bad minded… We have good ones like Mrs. Caines & Mr.Marlon Penn I respect you all, try and do a little more on the roads though and the debris from around our district.

  14. Ppl says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    This is the time ppl of the bvi need to take a stand protest stand up for your rights and stop letting these ppl in system walk over you an stop hide behind these blogs to voice your opinions.its a reason I never came back home cause they are abusing us while enriching themselves minimum wage still at $4-$6 an they putting mandatory bills on ppl

  15. Wow says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    What about those who worked in the tourism sector and lost their jobs because lots of major hotels were damaged. Are they receiving assistance, what is so special about fishermen and farmers. We are all equal and help should be set on a level playing field. Stop making things into what it is not.

  16. Give credit says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

    It is only Fahie that gets information like this out to the people whether in the parliament or otherwise. If he didn’t the majority of us would not know a thing what these badminded NDP doing.

  17. Iman says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

    It seems like a few people from overseas will have to come in to run the day to days governance of the country. The local politicians as failed us miserably. NDP or VIP it doesn’t matter. The locals cant run their own affairs properly. And I’m dead serious. I have seen them fail over and over again.

    • @Iman says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      you disappoint me. The NDP has failed us and got rich while doing so but yet keeps the majority quiet by throwing them a bone now and again. Call a spade a spade.

  18. For Accountability says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

    This minister has been given a free pass for too long. Has he shown anything that he has done for his two terms as a minister? Has done anything with agriculture or fishing? What has he done with labour? Employees are being knocked about by employers and you hear nothing from what him? Look at the beaches! Look at Brandywine Bay where he spent nearly 5million dollars on. Not even to get someone to rake up
    the beach since the hurricane. He spent 8million dollars on studies for the airport for what? Look at the green houses, he had them for 6 years and Irma come now and mash them all up. That’s 6million of the people’s hard-earned money. What has he done to help locals to hold on to their land. When is this particular person going to be held responsible for his performance? And now he expects a promotion to the highest office in the land for doing what! Then we wonder why some of our young people have the expectations that they do.

  19. Huh? says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

    Gov responsible for the sunken vessels? Especially if they were uninsured. Thats a big problem!!!!! When they register their vessels with shipping registry they should be insured! This sounds crazy. So if gov is responsible for the vessels then it belongs to gov? BtW why send the vessels off if we have technical school. Let them practice on it and take off parts to sell. Just a thought

  20. Observant says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    Since when the salvaging of ships contributed vitamins, carbohydrates,minerals and sustenance to the human body? I could be wrong but the need for food and water far outweighs a boat ride! Why are politicians called leaders? They’re more like men in charge not wise and brave people at all. If you all sit back and take this nonsense shoved down your throat and not open your eyes to the depths of his statement. You’ll not see the darkness from whence it came. Wake up my people!

  21. roy says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    given the lack of road cut planning and sewarage treatment,
    I’m a bit confused about how pulling other people boats (their responsibility, not gov) is priority over helping your fishermen and agri. folks rebound, as no one is making money in the BVI now, and can scarcely afford paying 2000 miles of shipping and 3 middlemen for imported sht food.

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