On the eve of the 2018 Carnival celebrations, on Fantastic Friday, on a day when the eyes of the media and the nation is on the reign of the Merry Monarch, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is hosting consultations that will destroy valuable agriculture lands, deprive farmers of planting stock and at the same time pad votes in the very marginal seat of St. Joseph.
Public consultation hosted by the H D C on the use of some of St Augustine Nurseries land for housing and a change in land use. Meeting starts at 4.30pm today Friday at the Pentecostal church at the corner Phillip and Mc Donald street Curepe.
At a church on Carnival Friday the Government agency HDC in the shadows of obscurity in the Carnival melee is conspiring to further destroy the agriculture sector and voter pad. Why on Carnival Friday would the HDC host such a consultation ?
The importance of the lands at the St. Augustine Nurseries cannot be underscored. The germplasm there and the fertile Grade 1 soil and link both with food security. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent to upgrade the Nurseries over the years so as to ensure that the nation’s farmers have adequate planting stock and there is genetic variety.
The Government has planned that the nearby HDC apartment complex will be significantly expanded and placed in the middle of a germplasm collection used for plant propagation.
Acres of fertile soil St Augustine loam will be forever lost…coved with concrete. The Aquafers in the location will be also forever destroyed and this is not even to begin to address the issue of job security issues with employees at St Augustine Nurseries.
A group of farmers held a meeting with the Permeant Secretary yesterday but she was silent on the matter. It came as a thief in the night.
The flagging support for the PNM Member of Parliament for St. Joseph is one of the driving factors as it is hoped that the new addition of voters will secure the PNM in the next General Election.
Despite all the lip service given to the importance of the agriculture sector to the diversification of the economy the actions of the Rowley Government have shown otherwise. The focus is clearly on winning the next General Elections at all costs given the fact that the population is fed up with the incompetence of the Rowley Administration and anxious to go to the polls.