September 30, 2011
Agriculture Minister should step down – Rose

Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel has been called on to step down from that post because of a conflict of interest.{{more}}

The call was made by former WINFA Coordinator Renrick Rose, who said that the farmers may be having some difficulty in figuring out whom the minister is representing.

Daniel, who is also a farmer and the chairman of the regional banana marketing firm WINFRESH (formerly WIBDECO), is being accused by some farmers of paying more attention to his interest in the company, rather than that of the local banana industry.

“….Clearly, he is not acting in the interest of the farmers, and I will give you an example,” Rose pointed out.

“Last year, they had a general meeting and he was invited to deliver an address. He came there. We had just signed a new contract which gave more benefits to the farmers, and he comes to the meeting and says ‘Look, this thing is going to cost WINFRESH so much money; rather than congratulating the farmers on getting a better deal.”

“And that is why people are calling on the Minister to go as minister, because he is misrepresenting with the comments he is making.

“He is the minister. He is the man who has been voted by the farmers. In fact, the government is only there because the seats the government wins are on the windward side in the farming communities…. Clearly, he is not representing the best interest of the farming community and we feel that it is time, whether the Prime Minister makes a reshuffle, because the farmers have lost confidence in him.”

During Wednesday’s picket of the Administrative complex, where Daniel was engaged in Cabinet meetings, one farmer was heard saying that the minister has said that ‘small farmers should come out of bananas’.

“I wonder if this is a way of pushing everybody out of banana,” the farmer stated, speaking of the current situation where farmers have been forced to cut back their banana crop because of the Black Sigatoka disease, which has spread severely due to the lack of spraying of fields for over three months.(JJ)