A university student from Suriname, who is presently in Dominica to study the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), believes enough is not being done in the island’s agricultural sector.
Shiva Basropansingh, who is among 20 students from Suriname participating in the exercise, revealed certain similarities and differences between the two countries, placing emphasis on the unused potential in agriculture in Dominica.
“We have some similarities in Agriculture but we also have some differences in the agricultural sector,” he said at a press conference on Thursday. “At the visits, most of the people were saying your country needs more agro-processing and Suriname has a lot of experience with agro-processing, so I think we can learn from each other.”
He also lamented the waste of agricultural products in Dominica saying the young appeared uninterested in the sector.
“In Dominica, there is a lot of waste of agricultural products, so they need to process them but there are not enough agro-processing engineers to do that kind of work and stuff,” he stated. “The youth also are not trained or interested in agro-processing or agriculture.”
He suggested that the government train young people in agro-processing and agriculture. However, he commented that it appears Dominican students do not wish to study agriculture because they “don’t see money” in the sector.
At the press conference, the students from Suriname all agreed that travel to Dominica from their home country was very difficult. They spoke of the journey from Suriname to Guyana, then to Barbados, and onto St. Martin. From there, they travelled to Antigua, where they overnighted before arriving in Dominica.
The exercise is sponsored by the CARICOM Secretariat, the Ministry of Trade and Employment, and the Regional Integration Unit.
According to Dominica’s Ambassador to the OECS, Felix Gregoire, students were separated into groups, and made to interact with various agencies and bodies involved in the implementation of different regimes within the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Such establishments included banks, manufacturing companies, telecommunication providers, unions, and various public and private sector agencies.
The revised treaty encompasses the Free Movement of Goods, Services, and Capital, and the Right of Establishment, including the movement of specifically identified categories of Caribbean nationals.
The students are to prepare reports on their observations. The reports will be reviewed by the CARICOM Secretariat, and used to enhance methods of integration among CMSE countries.
The activity, being held under the theme “Students Engaging the CSME through Field Promotion,” spanned from May 24-27.
Last year, 20 students of the Dominica State College (DSC), along with a management team, travelled to St. Lucia for a similar exercise.