Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘BLP has poor record’

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THE Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is in no position to question the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) record on agriculture.
Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, made this assertion in the House of Assembly on Tuesday during debate on the Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2010.
The amendment is to provide for a rebate for those involved in the farming industry who import agro-processing machinery.
Sinckler said his Government had put the most facilitating mechanisms in place for vendors in Barbados to be able to ply their wares and sell their produce.
“Indeed, as Minister of Rural Development with responsibility for the Rural Development Commission, I have always held a fluid position on it, whenever the Ministry of Agriculture has called on us for assistance in setting up farmers’ markets throughout communities in this country.
“We have done it to give the vendors a chance to sell their produce. So we have nothing to hide when it comes to vendors. It is not us who ran the police through Shepherd’s alley.
“No Government that can facilitate a Shepherd’s alley, can lecture somebody about vendors in Barbados,” he said.
Sinckler was responding to criticism by Opposition Member of Parliament for St George North, Gline Clarke, of the DLP’s record on agriculture.
The Government Minister reminded the House of Assembly that the last BLP administration had presided over the closure of the Bulkeley factory and Greenland agriculture station.
“The Labour Party government has no credibility, no locus standi within this Chamber to lecture anybody on agriculture.” Sinckler said the revival of agriculture, could not be achieved overnight.
“We are not going to wake up one day, put all incentives in place and agriculture re-assume its position as kingin the Barbados economy. Those days are over.
“What we have to do however is to make strategic interventions by the state, by the private sector, and by the agriculturalists themselves to ensure that we create an enclave of specialised activities within those areas of agricultural production that will allow us to do a number of things,” he said.
Sinckler said that the plan was to reduce the import bill, improve nutritional spread with high quality foods and try to gain a competitive advantage to export.
He said his Government would continue to support the country’s agriculturalists as long as resources allowed them to do so. (MK)

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