October 4, 2011
Woman calls on SVG to stop Sunday banana shipping

Chief Agricultural Officer Reuben Robertson is of the view that St. Vincent and the Grenadines needs a healing.{{more}}

Robertson made the statement last week Wednesday, at the conclusion of a lecture on the challenges of the banana industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines hosted by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.

According to Robertson, his words were used in support of a prediction made by a Christian woman during a conversation a few years ago.

Robertson said that the conversation, which took place in 2007, was in reference to the banana industry.

He noted that he was asked by the individual to use whatever power he had as Chief Agricultural Officer to “persuade the authorities, those who are responsible for bananas, to remove banana shipment days from Sunday, because our people are God-fearing and we have now turned our back on the Almighty, despite that fact that he has been so good to us, to allow bananas to make us…”

“We have been exporting bananas since 2002, on a Sunday, and she said to me and if you don’t do that, there will be pestilence upon pestilence in the banana industry,” he added.

Roberson, who seemed to be in agreement with the woman, then read from Second Chronicles, chapter 13 and verse 14, which in part says: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land…”

Since 2009, banana farmers here have been struggling with the destructive disease Black Sigatoka, which has now crippled the island’s main industry.

Black Sigatoka is a leaf spot disease on banana plants caused by ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis (Morelet). Plants with leaves damaged by the disease may have up to 50 per cent lower yield of fruit.

The disease also known as ‘black leaf streak’, was named for its similarities with the Yellow Sigatoka, caused by Mycosphaerella musicola (Mulder).