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Agri Dept heads & Minister blasted for Farmers’ Week failure

- Farmers call for new leadership & for the Minister responsible to respect tradition of farmers
Farmers have called for the removal of Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from their offices as they are allegedly ‘sour grapes’ sitting at the head. Photo: VINO
Farmer Ms Moviene F. Fahie blames Agriculture Department heads for Farmers’ week failure. Photo: VINO
Farmer Ms Moviene F. Fahie blames Agriculture Department heads for Farmers’ week failure. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering was also blasted for allegedly shifting the Farmers' Week activities to dates to suit his travel arrangements. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering was also blasted for allegedly shifting the Farmers' Week activities to dates to suit his travel arrangements. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Prominent farmers in the Territory have blasted the Minister responsible for Agriculture and top officials of the Department of Agriculture for what they [farmers] term as the shabby handling of the sector that is being reflected in Farmers’ Week 2015 which has so far been a flop.

There has also been a call for the removal of Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from those offices as they are allegedly ‘sour grapes’ sitting at the head.

This news site spoke with several farmers who said they were too frustrated to participate in the Farmers’ Week activities this years because they feel that they are being disrespected and shabbily handled. But while others were not bold enough to come forward to go on record, prominent farmer Ms Moviene F. Fahie was quite the opposite.

“The Chief Agricultural Officer has his favourite farmers who he is interested in, who he likes and who he hates. But I think we need to stop that kind of behaviour in the BVI because when you continue with this kind of behaviour it’s going to destroy the country,” said farmer Moviene F. Fahie in an exclusive interview with this news site.

“I don’t see why a person should hate a person for doing good. You should be encouraging me to do more and to teach the young people… that Department needs a lot of guidance, it needs the right people and once you don’t get the right leader for that ship it’s going to get worse,” she added.

“In the past we use to look forward to seeing the farmers having a great time together but since Mr Qwomar leave that office there hasn’t been proper leadership. When you don’t have a good captain for a ship you end up on the reef and right now the guy who they have there, he is not a person that is fit for the job right now,” she said.

 She said that agriculture is not being taken in the very serious manner that it really should and as a prominent farmer in the territory the state of affairs is very embarrassing. “With all  the money you have without food you can’t live, you must have food to live and with your farmers being frustrated and the industry going down it’s a very serious situation.”

Ms Fahie stressed the importance for the Virgin Islands to be very self-sufficient, which she firmly believes is very possible.

“The government needs to put a step in it to encourage the young farmers, encourage the older farmers. Most of the older folks have died out, my mother was a doctor in agriculture and I loved it from a child and I would love to see we go back to being a farming community.”

She said the Territory has the capacity to feed itself if the industry is properly managed. “We only talking about greenhouse, greenhouse. While it is good it is not set up in the right way for this hot climate.”

She noted that one of the reasons for the spiraling cases of cancer patients is because of the large number of chemical foods that is being consumed in the Territory. 

We are Kunta Kinte again

On a local radio programme aired yesterday February 1, 2015 as recorded at the second day of the Farmers’ Week exhibition, one farmer was very candid in his deep hurt for the manner they allegedly continue to be disrespected as farmers.

The man said that it is time farmers stand up to the relevant authorities and demand better treatment. “Farmers should take a stand and use their constitutional rights, where we are tax exempt, to make us demand the respect as farmers representing our position in our country."

The farmer’s main grievance was his alleging that the dates for the Farmers’ Week activities was changed at short notice mainly to suit the whims and fancies of the Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering who he alleged did so to accommodate his traveling schedule.

“He can’t violate the people like this saying that he has to travel and everything got to get off-set to suit one man, thousands got to get-off set to suit one individual, that just aint right or fair and it’s too ugly,” said the farmer.

“This is a total disrespect by the National Democratic Party (NDP) government because I understand that [Myron V.] Walwyn (Min for Education and Culture) tried to do the same thing with the August festivities and these traditions are older than any of us… so if the leaders are disrespecting this why should the people respect the ‘misleaders’?” the farmer rhetorically asked.

“We are hurt because we are disrespected as a people, we travelled a long journey to reach here, and then we must just have our misleaders just putting their foot on us because they think they are above we and I want something to be done to correct these ministers because they can’t just keep doing this and no kind of rule to put them in order,” added the perturbed farmer.

“….they think they could trample on we, we is Kunta Kinte again,” he stated. 

18 Responses to “Agri Dept heads & Minister blasted for Farmers’ Week failure”

  • tears for my bvi (02/02/2015, 09:16) Like (32) Dislike (13) Reply
    Yet another reason why ndp must go
    • xer (02/02/2015, 10:13) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      The thing was not advertised!
    • farmer brown (02/02/2015, 11:10) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
      Government should step aside and tell the farmers put on their showcase, let me see how that would turn out. I should have been Minister, I would have called their bluff long time.
  • ooooo (02/02/2015, 10:01) Like (30) Dislike (2) Reply
    the farmer's week dates were set years ago but dr done deal decided to change it so he could go globetrotting to rack up more frequent flyer miles
  • farmer (02/02/2015, 10:28) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    When ever we ask for a little aid to help us get our farms together, we are told that there is no money. So how come there is money to fence and maintain big tracks of private land. The way things are going now we might as well close down that Department.
  • Yes (02/02/2015, 11:09) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    Another swipe at Myron. Let us talk about the Auditor General Report on Youth Affairs and Sports. More corruption under VIP! We have the SCBay Habor Report, Green House Report, Youth Affairs and Sports report and yet they pretend as if nothing is happening. Let's hear about the real news man! The people of the BVI didn't come out and support the festivities but it's the Government fault. The only way people will attend is if a big band is playing, why they pretending like they give a damn about culture. Blame Government for the poor turnout.
    • ooooo (02/02/2015, 13:30) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      lets go back as far as when the youth and sport affairs was running under Rob Chalwell and minister black...we will unearth alot of things but we will never know!
  • cay (02/02/2015, 11:25) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    what about the boat this morning sahme
  • dead horse (02/02/2015, 11:38) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    myron and the cuban fighting for premeir and none of them have respect for we the people NEVER
  • binks (02/02/2015, 13:33) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Picketing go to travel so no time for ayo
  • yellow (02/02/2015, 14:36) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Just look back at the three years of the NDP; this ceremony and participation have decline each year…what does that tell you about this government and the so call robust economy…set of cowbirds just obsess to spin things and keeping their head in the sand!!!
  • cool k (02/02/2015, 19:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am certain that the people at the top getting good advice from the people at the bottom. They are been ignored, the man in the office never listen to the man in the field. Why? listening, taking advice, can solve a lot of problems.
  • wize up (02/02/2015, 21:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    and the Church said Amen!!!
  • POPE (03/02/2015, 03:52) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    What does Bevis know about Agriculture? How come Mrs Forbes is not the Chief ah???
  • Albion (03/02/2015, 22:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Another smoking mirror
  • farmer brown (05/02/2015, 08:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Farmers ,if you want to farm,farm. Join together and farm. Put on your show. Sell your produce. Have a farmers coop. Pool your resources,and do what you love doing. I am not quite understanding why Gov is being blamed. So the Minister decides to go ,why should the dates of the activities be cancelled? I am not saying that your complaints are not justified, I just do not understand why the Gov is your leaning post.
    By the way, Farmers Week was like a best kept secret. No advertising, no reminders nothing. I happen to hear a taxi driver mention it.


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