Ministry of Agriculture refutes claims farmers left out of grant program

Farmers line up for checks in Castle Bruce under the program. Photo: Facebook

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Reginald Thomas has refuted claims that the ministry deliberately left out farmers from a grant program funded by the World Bank.

He spoke at a handing over ceremony of equipment to farmers on Wednesday, stating that the matter was a “misconception.”

“I would like to correct that misconception, it is being propagated through the media that people names were crossed out,” he stated. “Some people were inevitably left out, the reasons we will have to find out.”

In January, it was announced that 3,932 qualified farmers who were affected by Hurricane Maria would benefit from an Agricultural Emergency Response Grant funded by the World Bank to the tune of EC$18,817,400.

However, concerns were raised by many, including the opposition United Workers Party, over the way the of the grant was distributed and it was said that many farmers were left.

Dr. Thomas said that the information which was required from the farmers was put through a database.

“Some people got left out and we recognize that there would have been mistakes, so we have made contingencies for that, one through the complete mechanism but also resources that would cover where mistakes would have happened,” he said.

He stated that the ministry is aware that individuals were left out but their complaints will be addressed and upon the provision of the necessary information, a decision will be made to offer assistance.

Dr. Thomas revealed that the ministry is currently assisting only the commercial farmers.

“We have been working hard to try to ensure that all the cheques that have been printed … all the commercial farmers that were in that group that we deal with them,” he said.

Meantime, Dr. Thomas said that the ministry is addressing challenges that occurred during the distribution of the cheques to the farmers.

“As we speak we have a number of challenges with the distribution, things like people names spelled incorrectly, so we are trying to address some of the administrative changes that are on these cheques so as to facilitate again the distribution,” he stated.

He noted that during the distribution a complaint mechanism was established to allow for individuals who may think or believe that they deserved more.

“We are also addressing these complaints we have received … and we are trying to decipher them. We have an independent committee set up that will look at the respective complaints,” he said.

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46 Comments

  1. little yout
    March 4, 2018

    That;s a BIG FAT LIE. There are several farmers you have not received any money because of POLITICAL affiliation, including MR EDISON JAMES. LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. amanda
    March 3, 2018

    “We recognize that there would be mistakes”, words from Mr.Thomas. Real! Why would there be mistakes.Can someone OR Mr. THOMAS PLEASE EXPLAIN.

  3. amanda
    March 3, 2018

    Where are the extension officers that should know the names of farmers. Where is the ministry of agriculture. No one keeps record anymore. Shame shame.
    If that info is not available., then the present extension officers should be fired or the matter needs investigating.Also, where is the village council. Farmers should rise up. What are they planting anyway?. You can’t even get a fig. Have to get frozen veg from fridge. Gov need to buck up. Stop import of anything that can grow in DA.

  4. John
    March 2, 2018

    Way back in the day Dominica used to be self sufficient as far as produce goes, there was no shortage of produce. Dominica did not need to import produce. A lot of people in the countryside also had their own vegetable gardens.

  5. famgdp
    March 2, 2018

    Dr. Thomas has to say those thing to ensure he continues, new kid on the block. Owner of govt GA on tax payers bac.

  6. Ibo France
    March 2, 2018

    This disorderliness associated with the distribution of cheques to the farmers gives you a vivid insight as to how Dominica is presently governed. A simple exercise of this nature is shrouded in controversy and confusion. This is indicative of Skerrit’s rule. Look carefully at the photo above. Is this any way for a government entity to distribute money or any other thing to its people? This reminds me of children at a pinata birthday party scrabbling for sweets and trampling on each other when the container with the candies is knocked open. Where else would one witness this level of primitive behavior, in this era of modernity, where people literally trampling one another, to collect an item handed out by the government? This happens only in a failed State. Reprehensible!

    • Man bites dogs
      March 3, 2018

      Strangely enough most of them are workers supporters, fighting off our supporters what have you got to say about that little boy!!!!!

      • RandyX
        March 4, 2018

        You vision is badly blurred through your red spectacles. What have you got to say about that little boy!!!

      • Ibo France
        March 4, 2018

        Dog Biter, your only contribution on this forum is to expose your idiocy. You definitely have a fixation with stupidity. From your frequent diatribe, one can easily discern that you are functionally illiterate. If a doctor were to perform brain surgery on you, when he makes that incision to hour skull, instead of finding a brain he would find raw sewage. Your contributions are odorous and ill-conceived. Your infantile tantrum and asinine diatribe clearly shows that you have a mental age of an impudent 10 year old.

    • UDOHREADYET
      March 3, 2018

      its not governance its structure and process and the mindset of people involved.
      Dominicans always think that somehow some person will fix their problems or that the solutions have to come from a foreigner or another Dominican they can blame. Get off your A$$ and fix your own problems!!

  7. My bad
    March 2, 2018

    The job of the ministry of agriculture or any ministry is to cover their boss and I don’t expect to hear anything different from them. However, the facts are on the published list of farmers as well as known villagers that got or did not get money to see who is speaking the truth. For example, I am from a very small village where everyone knows each other and what they do and plant. According to the list, I saw some names 3 to be exact and I don’t know who the hell these people are whether by first name or last name. Secondly I saw about seven known farmers listed as commercial farmers and to be honest, only one is considered a commercial farmer. Then there are at least six known commercial farmers missing from that list. Is a ganja farmer qualified? I ask because I saw a young man listed as a commercial farmer and all he plants is weed. Also, another one the sells jellies is on the list as a commercial farmer and the man is not known to have planted a coconut tree. Come on man

  8. in these times
    March 2, 2018

    “I would like to correct that misconception, it is being propagated through the media that people names were crossed out,” he stated. “Some people were inevitably left out, the reasons we will have to find out.”

    “Some people got left out and we recognize that there would have been mistakes, so we have made contingencies for that, one through the complete mechanism but also resources that would cover where mistakes would have happened,” he said.

    “We are also addressing these complaints we have received … and we are trying to decipher them. We have an independent committee set up that will look at the respective complaints,” he said.
    Something is wrong here

    • Annon
      March 3, 2018

      It’s called ‘trying to cover something’ spin. The World Bank knows that, they’ve seen this in some 3rd World countries over the years. Governments in some African countries are famous for that. Such things just hard to be micro managed. Then again, are there better ways to do this? Suggestions?

  9. March 2, 2018

    Given that the ditribution of these funds had errors and was not perfect, but is this not a handout financed by the world bank, UNICEF is also paying people who were affected by Maria. So now the opposition is in need handouts are ok and the promotion of a society dependant on government is now accepted. The UWP and its supporters are now making the most noise for handouts, all you hearing now is, give me, give me, I did not get enough. ….bunch of hypocrites! !!!
    .

    • RandyX
      March 4, 2018

      You are totally insane and blinded by these huge red spectacles. Poor thing!

  10. UDOHREADYET
    March 2, 2018

    When people talk about things they don’t know or listen to gossip from disgruntled people or politicized people the message is misleading. Im sure if a farmer that is a farmer and is qualified to receive assistance they will get their assistance and if not they will have proof of their grievance.

    the spreading gossip and complaining about things is not helping anyone… if you notice NOT ONE FARMER has COMMENTED here. its people that are not farmers gossiping and turning a good deed into something bad…. the root of which is jealously when money is involved… watch your own pockets!

    • Neville
      March 2, 2018

      To you and your fellow DLP supporter Anon I just want to say: the real crime is turning a blind eye! All you guys have been warned, the day of reckoning will be coming

      • UDOHREADYET
        March 3, 2018

        Im not politically affiliated and don’t vote. Im simply seeing things as they are without clouding my mind with the hateful jealous needy dependency that people use to point fingers and make stupid selfish shortsighted judgements… its all an attempt to cover the fact that they people that complain are the ones doing NOTHING!

    • UDOHREADYET
      March 3, 2018

      I am Factually right…. NOT ONE FARMER is COMMENTING in here about CHEQUES and MONEY DISTRIBUTION… Its all people who WISH they were getting money or jealous of other people…. that is why Dominica is sooooo backward… its the peoples mindset! mind your own pocket!

  11. Mine
    March 1, 2018

    This is a very lame and impotent excuse because fishermen and farmers from Certain communities who lost all their livelihood was struck out from the list because they support UWP. In a village in the north a certain family collected over $40,000. A Parro from Senjo collect $10,000 and his woman $3000,and the list goes on. Further lots of people who owned nothing got $10,000. Just because they bark for labor.
    I hope the World Bank people are taking note.

  12. March 1, 2018

    Wow ? never know Dominica has all these farmers, yet you can’t even find a ripe fig or part of fig to make a both ? If everything was on the books ? in Dominica we would not have that problem. Oh dear Dominica is really a special place . Every thing is up side down in this country.

  13. KID ON THE BLOCK
    March 1, 2018

    Sir, the Government should also investigate, as alleged, why the names of some FARMERS were deliberately excluded by some persons( anti- government (personels) to make the Government look bad in the eyes of its supporters and those that oppose it. TRAITORS on board and the Government should examine THEIR horns. But don’t worry, THEY will be grabbed by their horns.

  14. jungle
    March 1, 2018

    The Labourites wasted no time in divvying uo this World Bank money amongst themselves. This “Minister” is a bad joke.

  15. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    March 1, 2018

    It seem the entire population of Castle Bruce are Farmers today!

    Oh, what a thing!

    • Anonymous
      March 4, 2018

      Well, they want to make sure they voting Bannis Roberts again when she comes back from the U.S. to replace the Minister of agriculture as a candidate for the next election but trust me , people have more memory than elephants and have not forgotten her betrayal when she crossed the floor last time. Such an incompetent opportunist.

  16. Ray
    March 1, 2018

    “We recognize there would have been mistakes”…..that’s the PS words
    Would you give money to Jim for James if Jim says before recieving the money that you recognize there could be mistakes in which James we talking about. You talking about my favorite brother james or my neighbor james who i don’t speak to. If the money was for the neighbor how many of you think he got it?
    I’m just saying it sounds like you had no plan in place yet rush to hand out money like no backlash would come. Thank you future prime minister Lennox Linton for calling for a forensic analysis report of that money. The need for a report seems more evident now, with these words from the PS.
    My friend you recieve money from the world bank. You need to disperse that money in an accountable manner at a time when you are certain were it is going. That way you show transparency and earn the trust oh the donor and possibly attract other donors. The international community is watching, more importantly the donor…

  17. J.John Charles
    March 1, 2018

    About 2 weeks ago Mr James (former PM) and pal Rep. For Salisbury,these 2 gentlemen voiced their
    concern about the same matter on the hot seat with Mat.I called and remind them there was a little hurricane while in office,and I know people who don’t know how to put a melon seed in the soil yet received money and even had fertilizer selling,but not a cent was given to me and not an ounce of fertilizer.Before any one write.”It a mistake” which I don’t believe.let me say, I was the first farmer who started growing vegetables on the Grand Savannah at Salisbury in 1974.Every one came after me,people gave me the nickname tomato man.So I was no way side vegetable farmer.Now I believe the UWP victimized us because my wife contested the 1995 election on a DFP ticket.
    Any way God promised to take care of His own,and He has given us more than enough…Praise HIS holy name…amen

  18. Maria
    March 1, 2018

    ……………….Now with all the evidence before him and real farmers virtually crying foul, he is in denial making excuses for an inept government. Dominica is plagued with square pegs in round holes and it is getting worse.

  19. hahahah
    March 1, 2018

    But wait a second, Dominica has 4,000 qualified farmers!!!! what constitutes a qualified farmer? Is it determined based on how much land he owns, how much of it is used for farming or his output as a farmer? How many of the qualified farmers are commercial farmers? Shouldn’t the government have a list of containing the names of each farmer, the location of their land and even how much and what they produce each year. If we had that before Maria wouldn’t it be easier to know which farmers most urgently needed help and the Government would be able to justify the people they helped based on facts and numbers. Why cant Dominica do better

    • RandyX
      March 2, 2018

      I know of a village in the the north 3 people receiving:
      a small shopkeeper, no agricultural activity at all in years = $3,000
      an unemployed male sitting around all day, no agricultural activity in years = $3,000
      owner of a small rumshop, no agricultural activity in years, but a certain DLP minister as a regular patron = $10,000
      All mistakes? I rest my case!

    • meee
      March 2, 2018

      Check DEXIA; I am sure they have that information if the Ministry of Agriculture wants it.

      • da will be back
        March 5, 2018

        check who!! you batter check your head

  20. Dominican
    March 1, 2018

    It appears poorDr.Thomas is left carrying the can and I am confused also. What happened to Harold Guiste, who was the P.S. as late as November last year. Then I heard on the grapevine that apparently he was replaced by Kervin Stephenson, without explanation and now it is Dr. Stevenson facing irate farmers an members of the public when I had expected this matter to be addressed by the Minister himself. What happened to Harold Guiste and then young Kervin? And why did Dr. Thomas say that inevitable some farmers were left off the list? What is soi inevitable about it?Am I the only Dominican left in the dark with a lot of unanswered questions?

    • anonymous2
      March 1, 2018

      People don’t seem to last very long in the PS Agriculture position. Farming, which should be the number one concern seems to be at the back of the bus. Farmers need to learn to use materials and chemicals responsibly. This should be an organic island virtually free of herbicides and pesticides if people were trained properly and the government was doing its job. One thing for sure is that there doesn’t seem to be adequate, organized and fair distribution for some reason.

  21. Sad but True
    March 1, 2018

    Dr T is is very sad, but I will still give you the benefit of the doubt and say you do not know. I know I farmer in Castle Bruce that everyone knows even Jono and his lost everything and he has not received a penny. Doc please investigate and go back to base, it is all there to see.

  22. marie-claire R Skerrit
    March 1, 2018

    This foolishness there. Man oh man the world is watching and its sad because when these minsters run with them pockets full and something else happen the world will not be so generous.

  23. Laplaine Observer
    March 1, 2018

    I think there is a problem with the distribution process of these funds. If EC $18,817.400 was given to 3932 farmers, then the average farmer should receive about EC$4600. When certain farmers are receiving an average of EC$10,000, then lots of farmers will be left out.

    • March 2, 2018

      According to your maths the average payout on $18817400.00 is $4600. So how do you get an average of $10000.00 for some farmers using the same numbers? You need to check the meaning of average and try your maths again.

      • LaPlaine Observer
        March 2, 2018

        I was suggesting if certain farmer are receiving 1,0000.00 then it’s quite obvious we cannot utilize the 4600.00 average to equally distribute among the 3932 farmers.

  24. Ma Poe
    March 1, 2018

    Make it so that you need a bank account to receive compensation. The government should stop issuing live checks. I know it is Dominica, but it can be done, just more effective.

  25. Me
    March 1, 2018

    He would say that, wouldn’t he?

  26. zandoli
    March 1, 2018

    If these farmers paid taxes, it would be very easy to determine who is a farmer and who is not.

    • da will be back
      March 5, 2018

      very true this was not done well

  27. RandyX
    March 1, 2018

    There we go, just listen to that lying rat Thomas. Did I expect anything else, no not really.

  28. jihan
    March 1, 2018

    Thomas the regime your involved in,dont you all worry time will tell my friends.

  29. Ready Steady
    March 1, 2018

    He did, Dominicans knows that people from Salisbury are strictly farmers, many people who put their names on the list did not get anything, and the people who did not get was the people who they knows are not Laborites. this is a shame, in every country in the world where election are being held has two parties. Everyone has who they sides, wake up, it is time to put politics aside and dish out the money that was given for the FARMERS, it is not money for LABORITES.

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