Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 01, 2016 (SKNIS)–The Government of National Unity has further shown its commitment to the expansion of the Parks and Beaches Unit of the People’s Employment Programme (PEP) by identifying 18 acres of land to be used for crop production by the PEP group in Cayon.
Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, speaking during a tour of the Cayon PEP Farm on Thursday January 28, said that he was happy to see that the participants of the programme are utilizing their skills in nation building.
The Minister explained that while cutting grass is important to the aesthetics of the islands, the workers have the ability to contribute much more in food production.
He said that for a long time the workers of the programme in Cayon have been lobbying for support. The agriculture minister revealed that shortly after the election of 2015 the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Al Edwards, identified the land on which the farm is now located.
Minister Hamilton indicated that the government also intends to provide other assistance to workers.
“We are going to be working through the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that we support you with fencing material and where we can with water,” said the minister, who acknowledged that the water situation is of concern.
Pledging further assistance, Minister Hamilton said that he is aware of a problem with monkeys and wild pigs. He revealed that the ministry will collaborate with experts to try to alleviate these problems.
Mr. Edwards, in elaborating further on the assistance that the ministry will provide, said, “We are going to provide you with a start-up farm. I know you deserve it. I have seen a lot of stuff here. I am seeing okra, pumpkin, squash, sorrel, cucumber, and much more. We recognise that you are doing a lot of hard work and we want to reward you with that support and put you on your own as you are doing something really good for the country.”
Mr. Osbert DeSuza, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, thanked the workers for their efforts so far. He said that the PEP workers are making an important contribution to the country. Mr. DeSuza emphasized that the workers have been making an extraordinary contribution to the Federation.
Mr. Winston Caesar, who goes by the alias “Ras Ebro”, is a senior member of the group. He explained that his 40 years in the agricultural sector have provided him with the experience that he now uses to ensure that the farm is a success.
Ras Ebro thanked the government for the assistance going forward. He indicated that the group has many plans for further cultivation.
The PEP group in Cayon consists of 17 workers.