June 17, 2017: Some thirty-eight (38) farmers and thirty-one (31) fisherfolk received relief cheques, totalling just over eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) on Friday 16th June, 2017. ‘ We know the challenges that you face on a daily basis, and we are committed to [serving the] people and [ensuring good] governance’ said Senator Avinash Singh, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries at the Ceremonial Event, hosted at the St Helena Community Centre, Matelot. This relief was aimed at assisting farmers and fisherfolk who were affected by the damage that followed adverse weather conditions late last year.
Mr. Leroy Peters, President of the Grande Riviere Farmers Association said that following the disaster in 2016 he considered giving up farming; however based on the support received thus far from the Ministry, he sees the cheques ‘not as a hand-out’ but rather ‘it is that the Ministry is working with farmers. I am encouraged’.
The event also included the distribution of equipment to the Farmers Associations of Grande Riviere and Matelot, along with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry and the two Associations for the use of these pieces of equipment, which included chain saws and pruning saws.
Other speakers included Mr. Len Peters, Community Member; Mr. Raynaldo Phillips, Forester II, Forestry Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; Mr. Kirk Armour, Director – Regional Administration North, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; Mr. Leroy Peters; Ms. Louanna Martin, Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; Mr. Nicholas Alexander, President, Grand Riviere Fishing Association; Mr. Barry Mahabir, Deputy Director – Northern Range Reforestation Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; and Mr. Anderson Zoe, Community Member; and Mr. Claudelle Mc Kellar, Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries. Whilst among the distinguished guests were Mr. Terry Rondon, Chairman, Sangre Grande Regional Corporation.