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Is Dr Pickering to take blame for food shortages post hurricanes 2017? - Hon Fahie asks

- questioned if the Deputy Premier 'dropped the ball' as minister responsible for agriculture
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Opposition Leader and First District Representative, right, questioned Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resource and Labour, left, if he 'dropped the ball' as minister responsible for agriculture that left the territory without food following the hurricanes of September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Some of the distribution aid that went to residents in need. Photo: VINO/File
Some of the distribution aid that went to residents in need. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, grilled Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resource and Labour, on whether he feels it was his fault that the territory experienced food shortages following the hurricanes of September 2017.

Following the destruction of Hurricane Irma, residents flooded the supermarkets for nonperishable goods, which left the shelves empty and persons having difficulty getting food, while persons complained about the bad experience they had to go through to get relief supplies.

“Can the Minister for Natural Resource and Labour please inform this Honourable House if the ball was dropped by him as minister pre-hurricane Irma that caused the BVI not to have food post-hurricane Irma?” asked the Opposition Leader during the continuation of the First Sitting of the Third Session of the Third House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

The minister responsible for agriculture responded, “If I understood the question correctly, then I would be able to answer. Whatever my responsibilities were as Minister responsible for the subject that I did not carry out then I obviously dropped the ball.”

Not pleased with the indirect answer, Hon Fahie asked the minister if he was saying that it is his fault that the territory was left without food following the hurricanes.

For clarification he asked, “So you are saying that it was your fault as Minister for Agriculture that we did not have food post- hurricane Irma?" while pointing out that the statement was made during the H. Lavity Stoutt commemoration ceremony on March 5, 2018.

Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL) had told the gathering that Agriculture in the Territory is not where it used to be and suggested that the food crisis that was faced in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017 would’ve been less if we were growing more of our own food.

Minister Walwyn further added: “HL would’ve actively pursued various ways to get persons to once again recognise the importance of Agriculture and starting their own gardens, and this is something that I dare say that we must all now endeavour to do."

Meanwhile, the Deputy Premier, dodging the question again, said “I will repeat myself, whatever my responsibilities are or were as minister and I did not fulfill those responsibilities, then I obviously dropped the ball.”

Residents complained about not receiving distribution aid

It was reported that aid coming to the Virgin Islands (VI), following the hurricanes of September 2017 that left many without food, had transparency issues to the point where there was an investigation being conducted.

To date, residents expressed that they have not received any relief supplies that were said to be “distributed evenly,” according to the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Director, Sharleen S. DaBreo, speaking to media houses last year during a food supply presentation from One Mart.

One lady during the course of this week expressed that she did not receive any food supplies from the relief items that were brought in, while expressing that she was lucky to get one case of water and that was it.

21 Responses to “Is Dr Pickering to take blame for food shortages post hurricanes 2017? - Hon Fahie asks”

  • voter ndp (09/03/2018, 16:01) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    Dropped ball or not he still will do a better job than funny as Premier
    • please (09/03/2018, 16:45) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
      Better job where? Airport, BUST! Brandywine, BUST! Agriculture, BUST! Labour Dept, BUST! Beaches, BUST! Better?? Where? How? Complete utter failure! Only thing he has done is parlay with his rich white friends and jetset on BVI taxpayer dime.
      • INCOMPLETE (10/03/2018, 08:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        And do not forget about the missing Airline there is a lot behind it if we can recalled when he say the Airport was a done deal he his reason but I guess they smell a big rat and they run as fast as they can ha ha.
      • Boo (10/03/2018, 20:53) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        Much better for a roBUST economy
  • Gumption. Official (09/03/2018, 16:12) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    As a voter to a politician putting business and friendship aside. I don’t believe as a Minster of the department he’s he should say open to say he didn’t do enough to help the farmer so they can have helped us in a massive time of need.

    In terms of the disputation post Irma it won’t be fair to directly bleam him. As a over seeer you should hold full responsible, but behind back people will do as they please. The issue was the selfish individual/s who was profiling people if they was from here or not, if they purple or blue etc. A lot of things went wrong (ONLY) so when if we hit agin we should be it right this time around. But not all as fair as most few of us.
  • E. Leonard (09/03/2018, 17:15) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who to blame for the supposed national food shortage after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ? Was it the responsibility of Department of Agriculture or another agency? What are the roles and responsibilities of the Ag. Dept.? I see the Ag. Dept RR as promoting agriculture to lower the food import bill and to enhance food security. This RR is a work in progress. Who should be responsible for feeding nation after a disaster?

    Government should make arrangements to feed first responders and other essential employees who have to work before, during and after a hurricane or other disasters. As part of disaster preparedness planning, residents should be encouraged to procure and store 3-5 days of non perishable food items (including water). In regards to feeding the nation after a disaster, the responsibility should be assigned to a specific department(s). More than one responsible department is normally not effective and does not operate smoothly.

    The department should be staffed and funded to meet the mission requirements. To make this happened, support teams should be identified and assigned to the dept. Additionally, structurally sound facilities should be identified to store supplies and equipment and to housed staff during a disaster. The food supplies should procured and stored well ahead of a disaster occurring. Suggest procuring meal ready to eat (MRE) food items. These items typically have a shell life of 3-5 years.

    Further, small indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts to supply food after a disaster can be issued to either internal or external contractors. Further, the tasked agency should also be responsible for accepting, storing, inventorying, accounting for, and distributing donated items to needy residents.

    I have no dog in this fight. Nonetheless, unless local agricultural products were harvested and stored in a structurally sound facility, the strong Cat 5 storms would have probably damaged agricultural products and agricultural production facilities. As insurance, government could have partnered with local supermarkets to arranged to prepositioned critical food supplies safely outside of the storm area to be delivered immediately after the storm passed. The prepostioning should be the standard not only for food but also for other supplies, ie, equipment, medical supplies, construction material.......etc.
    • _@E Leonard. (09/03/2018, 17:57) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      That's exactly the kind of answer we expect from a voted and highly paid, highly educated and very respected minister.. People depend on him for guidance and hope... We expected a better answer
    • Boo (10/03/2018, 21:00) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      90% of our food is imported by private entities and 80% of that by one supplier who strangles both retail and wholesale food distribution in the Territory. Local production accounts for a miniscule quantity. What does Pico and Ag Dept have to do with that? Squat!

      What we need is better MOUs with the food importer to keep several more weeks store during the hurricane season and MOUs with the shippers to bring it in after a disaster. Problem is IrmaMaria was a catastrophe on an unprecedented scale which impacted supply changes all the way to Florida. This is something for DDM and Premiere's Office to work on not Agric and Pico.

      Ministry of Health is the line Ministry in charge of food and aide receipt and distribution in disasters.

      To answer the question posed in the headline...No!
  • lord o. (09/03/2018, 17:50) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Pickering is a very decent man but with the No or non performance by labour and Agriculture and as the Minister responsible with that kind of answer. Defineteky time for a switch. Mr. Premier please switch Myron, Ronnie and Kedrick.. Put Ronnie in Kedrick position, Put Kedrick in Myron Position and put Myron in Ronnie position, add culture to Marlon port folio..
  • aid (09/03/2018, 18:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think when aid is been distributed persons incharged of do so need to do so with a kindness and stop profiling and treating people like trash. so many sad stories in some districts. Same persons who did this hurt people feelings then when they were in need of a favour still had to go ask same persons they turned away. I heard of one story and it's a true story it sicken my stomach. So sad

    On a more serious note we need a plan before next hurricane season its right upon us. Each of us need a plan a and a plan b. This is the time to do it.
  • HAHA (09/03/2018, 18:49) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is just crap. Was there a FOOD SHORTAGE?..... I'm missing something
  • Ya me born (09/03/2018, 21:38) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fahie don't joke with he food sah
  • No joke (09/03/2018, 23:12) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    It was rumored that some of the canned goods and other foods that came as relief was being sold in one of our local supermarkets. The rumor also hinted that some beds or cots rather were part of the relief, and they too were being sold. They more you live the more you hear!
  • Real Tolian (10/03/2018, 07:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    NFL full a sh**.... cause majority of time... well poor ppl ain't get nothing n still struggling

  • Truth (10/03/2018, 10:16) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    We thank Hon. Andrew A. FAHIE for representing we the people by trying to hold the NDP Government to account. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't know about all the wastage of public funds and mismanagement by the NDP. They are a disgrace.
  • Hogwash (10/03/2018, 11:47) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Even if agriculture was in a top notch stance the produce would have been destroyed
    This is a vast misrepresentation of reality and truth in order to gain political points
  • Biggest Failure (10/03/2018, 22:34) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    This man is a colossal failure as a politician- everything he touch turn to sand
  • long look me come from (10/03/2018, 22:48) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Myron got his bloggers out but my money on Pickering
  • um (11/03/2018, 12:34) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    He could have done better for his district thats all i have to say
  • Well (11/03/2018, 21:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the 7th and 8th district we only had half of a case of water and there was a gigantic amount that came in some ppl have cases but a family of 4 or 5 had only 12 small bottles to share among themselves for 3 months.
  • Phoenix (13/03/2018, 15:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It happened! Now get over it and LET's get ON WITH IT! This constant tearing down with no solutions offered by Fahie, Fraser and just about everybody else in BOTH parties is only making things worse. What Fahie should have said is this, "We must learn from the mistakes that led to the food and water shortages suffered by some of the Territory's citizens and residents in the wake of Irma. We must investigate what went wrong and plan for the future accordingly. I call on the Hon Pickering to investigate this matter as it falls under his ministry. If he can't pinpoint and solve the problems to prepare for our future, then he should be replaced by someone who can." Then let him get on with it (or not). But no; all yall a bunch of screeching children, picking at dried up old bones when we should be building a future. TOGETHER

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