Civil servants and teachers who are also farmers will be excluded from the cash assistance that the government will give to farmers as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that the government is finalising the list of registered farmers in the country.

He said that famers ID had been issued to 9,000, but his government believes that the number of farmers could not stand at 6,000.

The reasoning is that some have died; others have migrated, while others still are in the country but no longer farming.

“So that the number, [Minister of Agriculture] Saboto [Caesar] tells me, comes down probably to no more than 6000,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio on Wednesday.

“If it’s 6,000, we will give initially $500 to help because some of them suffer really in the drought. Well, all of them really, some more than others. But that’s $3 million because the numbers are large so I just put that in the mix,” Gonsalves said.

He continued:

“I want to say to the civil servants and teachers who are farmers also, I’m asking them not to come to this pot because I know they’re gonna say, ‘But Comrade, we also farm and we suffer loss.’

“Yes. But the money’s tight all around. Everybody has to get a little something and I know things tight with you, too, you have your farm and you lose your crop. But you get a little thing off from your mortgage, a little relief there, you get relief also on the light bill and the water in terms of the moratorium which we had — and the moratorium for the loans at the bank mortgages up to six months. So you skip this one.”

Gonsalves said that if civil servant farmers are going to criticise the decision, they should criticise him and not the Ministry of Agriculture.

“I asked them to, in this payment, leave their names off for me.  You know, I love the civil servants, I love the teachers, but I think we have to — there are too many of them but I just — I don’t want you inside the village where you get the money and farmer says, ‘Look, John, Mary, they got a monthly salary … we catching our neck, and they get too.’

“It’s not worth it … because I just want to help to remove some of the friction and there’s an issue of reasonableness. I may be wrong on it. But I think it’s reasonable. But don’t hang me for that if you think I’m wrong. It’s not a hanging offence; it’s a judgment which I don’t think is unreasonable,” Gonsalves said.

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6 Comments

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    Usually when one doesn’t know what to do but an election is coming and one wants to use the treasury to bribe, one gets confused. A civil servant might have a dark but its two different thing. The farm carries itself in most cases. So what you’re suggesting is for them to lose on the farm because they get a little off here and there? What about those teachers and civil servants who didn’t get the moratorium?

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  2. What kind of Jim Jones juice is Ralph on? All farmers should be given government assistance so that SVG can provide enough food to feed the population and the other Caribbean islands that also need food supplies. I won’t be surprised if Ralph (a mere pompous and arrogant civil servant) denies government assistance to hard working tax paying farmers because they work in the private sector. Ralph, Vincentians are tired of your old sick and tired pompous ass. Your time has long expired along with your wayward thinking.

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  3. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    Its whats called the redistribution of wealth, from the middle class to the countries peasants. People employed in government and recieving salaries and benefits, many of them even duty free imports, are our middle class. So what is being done is the employment tax they pay is being given to the peasants. Under the Marxists and other such communistical systems this if what is expected of the leadership of a communist led society.

    In the past under the ULP, government ministers, MPs and ministers of the Church have been allowed to share in the pot. In many such cases MPs and government ministers have recieved unfair portions of the pot. I just hope and ask for clarification that is not happening during this share out. I would like to hear they also are not recieving money from this fund.

    The time of bringing the middle class to heel has arrived, they now need to be converted into the peasant class. The journey has been long and tedious almost 20 years, but now the time has arrived. So just shut up, think yourselves lucky to be employed by the state, because it is indeed a privelage extended from deep within the dynasty. You have all been better off than the field, road gangs, an house peasants.

    Of course the redistribution of wealth from the wealthy is not with us yet, but it is coming, not for all of course, some like dynasty, dynasty charter members, and family will be fairly immune, unless they speek out of place, support an opposition party, of fail to bow and ceed their very being to the dynasty leader.

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  4. What about the lawyers, doctors and business men in the private sector who are also farming and collecting a salary would they be exempted from the payment? Especially considering lots of them don’t pay their fair share of taxes? Rather unfair to the civil servant who pays income tax . More equity and fairness is needed in the assistance provided to farmers for example one farmer gets to buy 100 sacks of fertilizer at half price while the ordinary farmer can’t get a sack. Real assistance to farmers would include things such as regular visitations from extension officers , real concessions to all farmers on agricultural commodities such as irrigation lines widening the range of fertilizers that the Input warehouse brings in , faster response to farmers complaints relating to predial larceny , better farmers support from the quarantine department concerning the importation of seeds and a long list maybe they should consult with real farmers .

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  5. Just how far would $500 go in St Vincent and the Grenadines these days in an economy like ours when we hear “Civil servants and teachers who are also farmers will be excluded from the cash assistance that the government will give to farmers as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    What about spouses or other partners? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr43nFWiId0 What about Political party hacks and party cronies?

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  6. They must recuse themselves from conflict of interest implications…surely that is obvious..It sucks but that is the position they are in..If the Farm was in the name of a family member who is not a public servant…I can understand.
    This is a very slippery slope, so its what they can do for the country not what the country can do for you situation..to quote JFK.

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