A series of consultations are being executed with respect to the production of agricultural commodities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I attended the consultation held at Marriaqua Learning Resource Centre, Evesham, on Monday 26th June, 2023. The consultation was well attended, though it began very much late.
The programme as outlined by the presenters was: The Provision of Material and Training to Farmers for the Production of Specific Commodities and Fishing.
A first question was: The amount of money? A grant or a loan to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
It was a loan from the world Bank. A short comment here was, another opportunity to increase the national debt.
Two major concerns of many farmers were praedial larceny (stealing of agricultural crops) and roads. There was no mention of these but from the nature of the programme, these two concerns were not appropriate. Nevertheless, they are very important to farmers.
Farmers were then taken through the process of application to participate in the programme.
In the process, it was noted that the Cabinet has to examine each and every application. What a task for our Cabinet to get itself involved in! There was some objection by the gathering but the main presenter defended the case for Cabinet’s intervention.
The gathering was invited to participate in the programme and an application form was given to each member present. There was some degree [of] urgency; the project lasts one year only. Does St. Vincent and the Grenadines agriculture come to an end after one year?
This project will come to an end in one year’s time. We will not be informed of its success, neither will we be told of how much money was expended with respect to farming. Neither will we be told how much was spent on wages and salaries for the officials. Nevertheless, the country will have incurred an addition of US$10 million to our national debt.