SENIOR OFFICERS OF the Ministry of Agriculture were meeting Monday, May 3 to hammer out a response to allegations of shady sale of animals in the north windward communities of the designated volcano red zone.
Parliamentary representative for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel, last week on radio, urged the Ministry to take immediate steps to halt apparent theft of animals in that constituency.
Speaking on WE-FM, Daniel, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, said that during visits to evacuation shelters, farmers expressed concerns to him about their farms and animals.
He said some farmers told him they are unable to locate some of their animals, and it is rumoured that persons were going into the red zone to buy animals.
He related that after the roads were re-opened, a number of vehicles were seen going into the red zone (windward), apparently to purchase livestock, and he had drawn this to the attention of the Ministry of Agriculture.
While he could not say definitively that this is what the vehicles were entering the area for, the Minister said that one day he was going into the red zone and “saw animals in an enclosed vehicle moving” which he found quite suspicious.
Daniel, who lives and farms in the windward area of the red zone, pointed out that farmers are already living “under present tense conditions in the shelters” and would be further burdened if they realize that when they leave the shelters there is nothing left for them to begin to rebuild their lives.
He said if farmers want to sell their animals, there should be something in place where they can register that intention to the Ministry of Agriculture “so that a register can be kept of farmers and numbers, and that can be given to the police so that the vehicles on entering and leaving will have some database that they can work with”.
The MP concluded that: “we have to better manage the process for farmers…”