Criticism of feeder road allocation “unfair”

Criticism of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s recent announcement that the government was allocating $2-million for feeder roads is unfair, according to a former agriculture minister.

Heskeith Alexander who served as minister for agriculture from 1980 to 1985 in the Eugenia Charles led Dominica Freedom Party administration, says those criticizing the allocation as being too little should take into account the current hard economic times under which the government has to operate.

Alexander said the $2 million was “a good start”, even if it is able to address only some of the country’s feeder roads that help farmers get their produce out of the agricultural areas to the market both local and for export.

The former agriculture minister says he is certain that Prime Minister Skerrit and his government are attempting to source additional funding to help repair the country’s very important feeder roads.

A group of “farmers representatives” who appear weekly on local radio Q95 have been among very vocal critics suggesting that the government is not serious about addressing the feeder road problems which they insist will require much larger sums, as much as “$200 million”, according to one of the outspoken critics.

Alexander said while the former Dominica Freedom Party administration in which he served placed emphasis on feeder roads, it “couldn’t do it all” because of limited resources.

Prime Minister Skerrit announced recently that the government was launching a $20 million road rehabilitation programme, with $2 million of that amount slated for farm access roads.

He emphasized at a recent news conference that feeder roads leading to areas of active farming would be given priority.

“As Minister of Finance in a very tight economy, very tight economic global situation, I shall only approve roads to be redone where there are actual farmers,” the prime minister indicated.

He also expressed concern that a lot of the farm access roads have gone bad “because of the negligence of farmers in this country.  Farmers have to take a greater responsibility for maintaining those roads”.

His critics insist that putting aside only $2 million for feeder roads is a clear indication that the government is not serious about addressing the island’s farm access roads problems.

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25 Comments

  1. Jacky chan
    April 18, 2012

    Somethings are simple common sense and requires no degree in psychology, philosophy, finance or law. It is arrogance and asinine to treat our most valuable asset and industry with such disregard. Countries with a one dimensional economy ( tourism) have been severely affected simply because of the lack ofan alternate economic support system like agriculture. The DLP administration from the onset decided that agriculture was insignificant so much so they coined our farmers as “ Has Been”. Ivor spat in their mouths and now sitting back on his thrown.

    With the sidelining of the farmers we have been reduced to beggars; No one can deny that unless the farmers in Dominica are doing OK the country is destined to fail and so it is. Great leaders recognize their failure dust themselves off , dispel foolish pride and do the right thing. Our only way out of this economic drought is through agriculture. It is not through tourism , Chinese nor Venezuela. Until the confidence of the farmers are elevated ( like in the 80’s) the country will continue to denigrate. To simply throw a mere pittance at the farmers like beggars is total disrespect. What is even more insulting is the fact that the PM calls his action “ A start”. There shouldn’t be a tentative or hesitant start but a full fledge campaign to move the agriculture industry. The focus of our spending should be on Agriculture – not a pocket change 2 million but a wallet deep effort to put the knocked out giant back into battle.

    While it is very true that the invasion of the Chinese have destroyed our local merchants it is also true that many of our local businesses have gone south because the people have no buying power. I am baffled that a government with more advisors and so called educated people can sit by and not recognize that they have been on the wrong route for so long. The driver instead of making a U Turn decide to take the side street in the same direction.

  2. Hate ignorance
    April 17, 2012

    “singing for their supa” here goes another one

  3. paco
    April 17, 2012

    If workers had do something when they were in office then this present govnt would find things much easier to manage….2 million is a start but certainly not enough, therefore am critizing the past govnt’s….

  4. Harry
    April 17, 2012

    Like Charles Maynard Heskieth Alexander is just shaking the tree to see if special adviser fruit will fall in his lap. Heskieth know very well that feeder roads are as essential to the economy just as the veins in our body are essential to our survival. What is interesting is that Heskieth was moomoo all the time farmers have been crying out for attention. The least he could do was to call on the government to pay attention to agriculture . Now that Skerrit made an insulting gesture to the farmers MR Alexander has the audacity to tell us about the economy. The economic situation is what it is because of the government’s total disregard for agriculture. Agriculture will and should always remain the mainstay of our economy. This is not far fetch because in the 80’s Agriculture took us from the ravages of Hurricane David to a thriving economy. Heskieth should also comment on the 27 million dollars now being wasted on a state palace.

    Once we see these nonsensical comments coming from people who are suppose to know better I am inclined to think that these people are looking for political favors – take for example – Tim Tim, Maynard , Saverin, Volney, the Davis dude who was debarred from law practice in the US; As for Parry Bellot nuff said. I consider that type of behavior a betrayal and possibly treason. Blatantly unethical behavior from a bunch of loosers.

  5. dissident
    April 17, 2012

    U mean the roads went bad because they were not being used? Ha ha ha u funny…….de roads are not used because de government backed off on agriculture…period.

    I believe that the 2 million will go directly into farm roads where coffee is planted ………..Viva Chavez. God bless Venezuela

  6. Alah Papa Met
    April 17, 2012

    Mr Alexander you seem to be missing the point or just conveniently looking for a line from the trough. As you rightly said the feeder roads were built by the dynamic Freedom Party; the sad reality is that the roads went into deplorable conditions under the DLP. It is well proven that the DLP choked the life out of the Agriculture Industry. If the feeder roads were maintained then 2 million dollars could be considered a good gesture towards the mobility of farmers. Mr Alexander according to the technical division it takes roughly $800,000 per mile of road and with the condition of the roads 2 million is insignificant for the rejuvenation of the agriculture industry – The bottom line is – this government is not at all serious about agriculture.
    The PM’s reaction in my opinion is an insult to farmers and agriculture. How can we move crops from the farm to the market without feeder roads – Euginia Charles understood that , Edison also did obviously not this lame government. The last 12 years of mendicancy. While this government told farmers to pack up and go into tourism they have done nothing towards tourism – the tourism facilities were not built by the DLP so what else have the DLP done to boost tourism?

    • Homeboy
      April 17, 2012

      Why have you gotten so many thumbs down? Are Dominicans so ” party-affiliated” that they don’t pay attention to facts and the current state of agriculture?

      Come on people $2 million dollars is a gesture of the importance the administration sees in agriculture!

  7. patriot
    April 17, 2012

    TO OFTEN GOVERNMENT HAS INVESTED LARGE SUMS OF MONEY IN DEVELOPING FARM ACCESS ROADS ONLY TO HAVE THE LAND OWNERS ALONG THESE ROADS ADVERTISE AND SELL THEIR PROPERTIES AS PRIME LAND FOR BUILDING.
    IF ONE LISTENS CLOSELY TO THE CRY FOR FEEDER ROADS YOU WILL OBSERVE THE PEOPLE DOING THE CRYING HAVE NO INTEREST IN AGRICULTURE BUT INSTEAD THEY ARE USING THIS AS A SCAPEGOAT TO GET ACCESS TO THEIR PROPERTIES.THE LAND IS SOLD FOR HOUSING WITHOUT THE BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE THEY THEN BEGIN THE SECOND STAGE OF CRYING FOR ELECTRICITY,WATER AND SEWAGE.

    THIS MUST STOP AND NOW

    • RANGER
      April 17, 2012

      Papa god zor Dominique nir morne ignoran. You call yourself Patriot and that is your reasoning. A patriot is suppose to put country first not political party. Are you saying don’t give the farmers access road because farmers may just use the facility for housing development instead of farming. Genius the only housing expansion we had in Dominica was when farmers were making money. Genius you deliberately have it wrong just so you could support your political party. Let us assume that the farmers use the opportunity to sell land for housing – guess what the government will make money out of the land transaction and some construction jobs will follow.

      I guess your position is – Don’t give the farmers access to their land instead spend 27 million on a mansion uh. Maybe you should check the mirror – you may just see the image of a mule.

  8. A Shame
    April 17, 2012

    Shame on you Mr. Alexander for even thinking that way as a former Minister of Agriculture. If the Dame were to here you talk that way now, she would be very much upset with you. The only excuse I can think of for you is that you may be of the view that the $ still has the same buying power as in your days as Agriculture Minister.
    If I did not know better i would think that you were PAID to make that statement.
    With the FEEDER ROADS, the farmers are going to be more independent, more cash will flow, thus more spending power and the ability to take care of themselves and there will be no need to receive or depend on the government for HAND OUTS.
    The government has two (2) priorities.
    1. Themselves.
    2. Keeping the “masses” poor and dependent (on them).
    I am left to think, its either you are supportive of these two priorities or, if I did not know better I would say you were paid to make that statement.

  9. Morihei Ueshiba
    April 17, 2012

    :wink: Brian Alleyne hold strong, if it was not for u i would think your comrades in freedom party were a bunch of opportunists looking for ways for the populace to pay there medical bills in their old age.
    Eugenia Charles must be disappointed in dem fellas.
    I think it is unfair for comrade Heskeith to blame the farmers when the Govt destroy Agriculture in Dominica.

    • teacher
      April 17, 2012

      @moreishi
      a joke that man. if you knew Mr Alexander, you would know that he can more than take care of his medical bills and maybe ole Brio s too. Everything always has to be about old people? and who looking for handouts? come up with your own argument or disagree with the honorable gentleman without trying to make this about him and his ability to fend for himself. and by the way I am not related to him and I am pretty sure he can defend himself. some of you must learn to stick to the issues.

  10. law
    April 17, 2012

    Yes justina Charles,if u see we don’t get road going to pedi temp we are not voting labor party next election.we mean that.justina u talking bout young peopfle not doing anythingwhen u have not provide road to farmland in pedi temp so people can get of the street.open your eye justina

  11. 1st. culture
    April 17, 2012

    Isn’t it under those same hard economic times that Govt. took a loan of $27,000,000.00 from China to build a State palace and create work for Chinese. Compare the economic benefits that the country would obtain if that amount of money was invested in agriculture or other productive areas of our economy.

    With proper planning and implementation, no doubt, Agricultural development could be again a major revenue earner. What programme is there, what markets are there, what are the incentives to encourage our people to see the importance of agriculture as a viable occupation and to get people back to the land to produce, to feed the people, to export, to make money for the country and its people, as we strive for food security and sustainable development?

    Why is that former Minister of Agriculture so silent on the neglect of that sector? What about quality of produce for the market when the feeder roads are in such a deplorable situation?

    Because of the neglegence of farmers, many farm access roads have gone Bad? Imagine that coming from the PM? You really believe that PM? Farmers spend much of their little money and time to maintain feeder roads in their area to the best of their abilities. Govt. should not shrug from their responsibility and blame farmers for the poor state of feeder roads. It is unfair and disrespectful.

    The country is almost totally dependent on hand-outs and financial help from foreign countries. We could do much better than adopting that beggar mentality. The standard of living of the majority of rural folks have declined considerably. Dominica’s soil is too rich and productive. We have an abundance of water. Yet Dominicans in some circles even praise the importation of cabbage, carrots and other foods that we could produce abundantly and with more nutritional values. The State Palace will feed us and bring money to the country? How?

    Could the Former Minister of Agriculture explain how the building of a State Palace could take priority over repairing/building feeder roads? $27,000,000.00 for Palace as opposed to $2,000,000.00 for feeder roads for many, many farmers to access their farms, work, produce and earn a decent living? Development must be about People first. The farmers are being neglected big time.

  12. Voice From The North
    April 17, 2012

    Personally I don’t see how much 2 million dollars can do for feeder roads. If the administration is serious about agriculture, they would devote more money than this. Tell me how many miles of feeder roads can this money build.That money is not even enough for backyard gardeners to construct a track from their house to their backyard garden. And with the number of feeder roads that are in poor condition, how do they plan to allocate that 2 million dollars?

  13. concerned
    April 17, 2012

    Mr Alexander you should remember that the Dominica Freedom Party under the Dame Eugenia Charles government did not have an ad hoc approach to the development of agriculture. You most of all as a former Minister of Agriculture should be honest enough to call a spade a spade when you see it. There must be a comprehensive plan to the development of agriculture and other sectors of the economy. While you ‘are certain that the Prime Minister Skerrit and his government are attempting to source additional funding to help repair the country’s very important feeder roads” can you also be certain that this forms part of a development plan for the agricultural sector? Will farmers be able to export their produce? To which markets? Isn’t that supposed to be part of the ‘from farm to market” program? It is really sad to see persons like yourselves who were once members of the Dominica Freedom Party now closing their eyes and ears to all that is wrong with this Government. No wonder we are in such a mess!

  14. Good Ways
    April 17, 2012

    The Government is spending 27 million on a state house so that in the PM owns words ” the government ministers can have a proper place to socailize” and Mr George dont find that unfair, in this hard economic time, but finds people asking for better feeder roads to enhance the productive sector unfair. we really have our priorites screwed up in this country.

    • Good Ways
      April 17, 2012

      Sorry i meant Mr Alexander not Mr George

  15. jerseydominican
    April 17, 2012

    agriculture issues need to be address in dominica becuase we have alot good that we should be export to other countries like us and canada

  16. LULZ
    April 17, 2012

    Agriculture is dead so I don’t see why they taking my hard earned dollars and givin to farmers who clearly dont exist

    • 4progress
      April 17, 2012

      Don’t u think that it maybe cause by the lack of access roads that may have driven potential farmers away

    • Wishy Washy
      April 17, 2012

      Definitely the comment of a Laborite- ignorant and assinine. It is no wonder why our people are taken for a ride. DNO should tagged this blog as the most stupidest comment of the year.Your hard earned dollar is paying the chinese loan for the State Mallice. Your hard earned dollars is given to lawyers who are selling our passports for millions and pocketing the money. I hope you dont consider walking up the stairs to get your red clinic money hard work or money earned through hard work?

  17. stevo
    April 17, 2012

    I am very happy that Mr. Alexander came out and speak out on the agriculture issues that the everyday farmers faces….

    • Reason
      April 17, 2012

      You see DNO you did not compose the news item clearly. Stevo here thinks that Mr. Alexander is criticising the PM on behalf of the farmers.

      Your headline should have been something like “Former Minister of Agriculture supports feeder road allocation”.

      You know already that people do not read these reports correctly. Now you have them all confused.

      • dot
        April 17, 2012

        @ Reason…. somehow the opening sentence of this article needs to be changed, since it contradicts what the body speaks to.

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