As the Member of Parliament with the assigned responsibility by my party to shadow the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, I take this opportunity to extend congratulations to the newly elected Executive of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago (A.S.TT), led by Mr. Darryl Rampersad. From the final tally of votes, it appears that this overwhelming victory represents a welcome change by the Society’s Membership. I also wish to extend my gratitude to the outgoing executive and wish them the best in their future endeavors.
The new A.S.TT President stated in a recent Newspaper article that the A.S.TT has a current membership of 10,000 plus, of whom less than 10% are eligible to vote. Given its Mission “to represent and advocate the interest of all branches in the Agricultural Sector and to consider, encourage and advance the growth and development of Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago”, it is my sincere hope that the new executive would waste no time in affirmatively engaging members with a view towards their active participation and/or consultation as part of the Society’s decision-making process.
Having consulted with various stakeholders, the destruction of the agricultural sector in T&T by this PNM Government’s failure to deal with the issues has been highlighted. Issues such as allocating sufficient PSIP funding to develop and improve agricultural access roads, effectively addressing land tenure, putting idle lands to work, irrigation and drainage, protecting our fishermen both on land and at sea, praedial larceny, along with the consistent reduction in funding for agriculture over the past six (6) years. These issues have mainly affected the members of the A.S.TT and the latter will directly affect the society from fulfilling its mandate.
I call on the Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries to treat with all outstanding matters involving the A.S.TT as a matter of urgency, so that the new A.S.TT executive can effectively fulfill the responsibilities they now shoulder in this most important office.
Ravi Ratiram MP