Member of Parliament for the North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews speaking at the rally in Georgetown on Saturday. (iWN photo)

Opposition spokesperson on agriculture, Roland “Patel” Matthews is encouraging Vincentian farmers to reject the US$50 that an investor is offering for a pound of medical cannabis.

He made the point at a rally of his New Democratic Party in Georgetown on Saturday, where he said there was a need to grow the Vincentian economy.

“…we need to grow agriculture, my friends, we need to expand tourism and we need to mek sure that our ganja farmers get the best deal possible,” said Matthews, who is also Member of Parliament for North Leeward, where much of the nation’s marijuana is grown.

“Because there are some people going around trying to fool off the ganja men and tell them they going to give them US$50 a pound. I tell them no because right now, in North Leeward, women going bush go clean weed for the same $50 a day. We nah wah that.”

Matthews said that Vincentian farmers are bosses when it comes to marijuana cultivation.

“And North Leeward and North Windward, we have it locked. So, don’t come to me and promise our ganja man a little bit ah something. We want the whole hog.

“We wah the whole hog because we know in St. Vincent ganja runs things in the eastern Caribbean and we want to make sure our brothers and sisters out there who are involved … our ganja farmers they make something. But not the way they’re doing it.”

Matthews, a former teacher, spoke about his own experience with marijuana cultivation.

“I told them when it comes to ganja production and involvement, Patel Matthews, me nah no jus’ come anuh. Me nah jus’ come yuh know. As a matter of fact, when I started to teach in 1984, before I started, I was called from Twallo Mountain in a place called Takou to come to Petit Bordel Secondary School. You know what I was doing in Twallo? Me ha’ me own little ganja cultivation, yuh know.”

Matthew said that when he went to university, he envisaged that the day would come when ganja would be a big thing in the Caribbean and the world.

“I did a study at university, it was entitled ‘The Socio-economic implication of marijuana cultivation on the village of Petit Bordel.’ I know what I was talking about because I know where I was going.”

He noted that Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, said in parliament last week that in some parts of the country person where they were referring to him as the “ganja minister.

“I said, don’t worry, just now, it will be me. It go be me just now. Alyo laughing? The next ganja minister, the only ganja minister who understands what it requires, who making sure that our traditional ganja farmers get their due, I understand,” Matthews said.

“I know what it takes to be in the mountain with a piece of ‘paulin over your head. I know what it is to be drinking water infested by rats. I know what it is when people are dying from leptospirosis when it comes to ganja. I am the expert in the parliament.

“My brothers and sisters, Rasta farmers out there, ganja farmers, the New Democratic Party is the only party that understands your plight and we are promising you a better deal. Nobody is coming to St. Vincent and rip us off. Not as long as Patel Matthews and the New Democratic Party is in the parliament. We are making sure that our farmers get the best return possible,” Matthews told the rally.

Vincy Leaf, a medical marijuana company, is offering farmers US$50 per pound for medical marijuana.

However, the Cannabis Revival Committee, which is headed by Junior “Spirit” Cottle, has urged farmers to accept no less than the EC$300 (US$112) that they have traditionally received for each pound of recreational marijuana, which remains illegal in SVG. 

7 replies on “Reject $50 ganja offer — MP”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Any prices set by government for legal medical and/or recreational marijuana would be much higher than free market prices thereby encouraging the black market to continue to flourish.

  2. Agustus Carr says:

    We would always get “trok” in our eyes if we have to depend on outsiders to do everything for us. In an effort to identify opportunities and penetrate new markets in the medical marijuana industry the people of SVG must either use their relatives and families in the diaspora of North America and Europe to help identify purchasers or form strategic alliances with other well established medicinal marijuana companies.

    A good way to commence this process is to conduct an online research. An online research would be a healthy way to commence finding well intentioned customers. While doing this you have to be aware of those who have illicit intentions. Start by using the google search engine. Once you have identify possible purchases, the next step would be to conduct proper due deligence on the company and owners. This means finding information about the legality of the company such as licensing and permits to operate. Search for the company online to see if it is a publicly traded company, a very well established company or a fly by night company. Once you have done your ground work organize yourselves into groups or individually and reach out to the Company.

    Prepare a PowerPoint presentation on what you can offer by making special reference to the geography, the climatic conditions of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the reasons why it is best suited for medecinal marijuana cultivation and what you can bring to a the table. Invite the prospective buyers to visit St. Vincent.

    It is innate in every Vincentian to work hard. Time for those who are unemployed to put their mines together and figure this out and not depend on others for sympathy. Get up and start innovating. Use your abilities and contacts to penetrate the various markets.

    Beware of politicians! Bad for your business.

    1. Good thoughts Augustus. We have to be more energetic if we want to accomplish anything. The government has always done a poor job of creating incentives for Vincentians to accomplish things. Look at our Customs Charges! One has to beg for a concession in order to get anything into the country that will allow a business to even survive. Policy that is enshrined in law are policies that harm business rather than help. The financial laws in SVG are crafted to benefit the government, not the people. In other places on earth it is otherwise or at least balanced. If you want any fairness in SVG (concessions) you have to beg for it; that takes alot of time, effort and often fails.
      We can all hope that one day we will have a government that thinks about the financial well-being of people instead of just about the wealth and priveledge of Government.
      I dare any reader to tell me I am wrong!

      Look up all the benefits you get for farming in Canada, Ghana, Russia, and even Venezuela and compare that to SVG!

  3. CBD oils are lucrative medicinal products. The SVG Government should aid and abet nor allow our people to be used and exploited by rich companies. There are Village-chiefs in Cocao-rich African nations who have never eaten a milk chocolate bar and doesn’t even know that it exist. I hope this isn’t allowed to happen in SVG. Get rid of Gonsalves. The man is no good. Get rid of him. And if the next person doesn’t do a good job get rid of Him/Her too.

  4. The quality of most of the ganja is very low compared to the international market. What are the CBD levels of the weed… Mr.Matthew is blowing hot air if he actually knows anything about growing ganja then he would know that vincy farmers have to step up their game big time. It’s all about the quality now a days. He is no minister of ganja … Just because you plant a few fields of weed doesn’t mean that you are an expert. It’s like growing small tomatoes .. you will get small money.

  5. There is a difference between getting US$50. Vs EC$50. per pound. There is currently a need for marijuana suppliers and SVG in my opinion will be still struggling to get out of the gates.
    We have premium marijuana in SVG and the world knows that. However, due to the lack of organization and weak institutions, foreigners are willing to give us a candy and lay claims on our inventory. Jamaica is already supplying Canada with medical marijuana. The Canadian Marijuana Industry is in its infancy and will go through consolidation as the bigger players in the US seek mergers and acquisitions. This is a good time for SVG to get into the doors and sure-up its marijuana brand, which I believe is better than that of Jamaica.

    I also strongly believe that Patel doesn’t know very much about the economics of this crop and is speaking from heightened emotions. Furthermore, how many marijuana farmers truly own the lands they are cultivating this crop on? I doubt there a credible basic plan in place to take this marijuana industry to the next level. Everyone will come to SVG for advice only to kick the dusts in its face later.

    Gus.

    1. We simply do not have premium marijuana and the world knows nothing about our ganja, nothing.

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