KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar will not have an impact on the sector unless funds are made available to his ministry, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said yesterday.
Caesar,a former tourism minister, yesterday replaced Montgomery Daniel as Agriculture Minister as part of a Cabinet reshuffle Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced last week.
“I said whoever you put there, if you don’t have resources, nothing can happen,” Eustace said, recounting his statements in an interview with local television.
“… You don’t have the funding to do what you are supposed to do. So, even if you put somebody there who is willing to move forward and you don’t have the funding, we are no better off,” he further stated.
Eustace said that agriculture officials should spray abandoned banana fields against the black sigatoka disease, which ravaged banana and plantain cultivation here last year.
“That is absolutely necessary. Because the abandoned fields are contaminating the fields that are good, which are near to them. And that is a very, very, serious issue, which has to be addressed. I don’t know whether they are doing it now but I know the spurs are moved by air [so if] you have an abandoned field next to you, you are still in trouble,” said Eustace, a banana farmer.
The Ministry of Agriculture and out going Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel came under heavy fire last year for their failure to spray against the disease.
Daniel yesterday took up duties at the Ministry of Housing, leaving the Ministry of Agriculture for the first time since he was elected to Parliament and joined the Cabinet in 2001.