Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, New Democratic Party chair Dr. Linton Lewis, and Communication Consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister Elson Crick are “not … friend[s] of the farmers,” according to the reasoning of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

Gonsalves, speaking at a Unity Labour Party (ULP) rally Sunday night, said:

“Anybody who seeks to disturb the well-being and confidence of the farmer is not a friend of the farmers and Arnhim Lewis, Linton Lewis and the rest of them who sort to spread fear and alarm and panic in and among the farmers, the farmers will not forget it.”

Gonsalves was discussing the public scare on Thursday after, Lewis, Eustace, and Crick announced on radio that banana exports from this country had been suspended.

I-Witness News was unable to independently verify Lewis’ statements. However, Eustace and Crick said on separate radio stations last week that banana exports from this country was “suspended”.

Gonsalves further said that members of the opposition NDP often speak ill of progressive policies, programmes and projects across the country.

“These are people, on the basis of those kinds of utterances, are unpatriotic, bad minded and are possess of a colonial outlook, not believing in the possibilities of our people but always looking at limitations and always looking at failures,” he said.

He, however, urged farmers to pay attention to the quality of fruit that they export.

“After 50 years [of exporting bananas], we should not be putting bananas in a box which have latex stain; we shouldn’t be putting bananas in a box with crown rot; we shouldn’t be putting bananas in a box, which is scruffy,” Gonsalves said.

“And if the shipment is on Sunday, why cut the banana on Thursday and Friday. Why are you doing that? Because all you will be doing is cutting off your nose and you spoil your whole face. So, everybody has his and her responsibility in this but I am talking now about farmers,” he said.

Gonsalves further assured farmers that bananas from St. Vincent would be exported to the United Kingdom “every week”, adding “… but we have to sort out the quality problems together”.

He said that by next May this country will be shipping 12,000 boxes or bananas a week — 10 times the amount shipped this week – as trees culled because of black sigatoka begin fruiting again.

“And it will raise the production at a time when there is a demand for the bananas in England,” the Prime Minister said.

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