PAM Deputy Leader Azard Gumbs Joins Farmers in Blasting Minister Samal Duggins Over Stagnant Agriculture Development and CARICOM 25 by 25 Agenda

Farmers in St. Kitts and Nevis Renew Call for Immediate Resignation of Agriculture Minister Hon. Samal Duggins

St. Kitts and Nevis, July 9, 2024 — Azard Gumbs, Deputy Leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM), has joined farmers and agriculture stakeholders in criticizing Minister Samal Duggins over the lack of progress in the agricultural sector and the much-touted CARICOM 25 by 25 agenda. Gumbs and stakeholders assert that the initiative seems to be going nowhere, despite promises and plans laid out since 2023.

Gumbs issued a statement highlighting the stagnant development of the greenhouse initiative, which was promised as a significant step towards achieving the CARICOM 25 by 25 goal. He questioned the status of the greenhouse village project, referencing an article dated November 28, 2023, by the SKNIS. The article quoted Minister Duggins, who had committed to the groundbreaking of the first-ever greenhouse village in the White Gate area, featuring an initial layout of 15 greenhouses for local farmers.

According to Gumbs, the Minister had assured the public that these greenhouses would enable the production of crops suitable for local demand and potential export. However, Gumbs pointed out that another article published a month later, on December 14, 2023, claimed that the Federation would have over 100 active greenhouses by the end of 2024. Minister Duggins stated that the first phase would include 15 state-of-the-art greenhouses focusing on mass production of priority crops.

Despite these promises, Gumbs noted that as of July 2024, the project remains woefully incomplete. The site, which should be bustling with activity, appears abandoned, and the initial excitement surrounding the greenhouse village has turned into doubt. Gumbs stressed the need for transparency and accountability, as the farming community and the nation at large seek clarity on the current status of the project, the challenges faced, and the steps being taken to ensure its completion.

“The farmers and citizens in general seek an urgent explanation from the Minister of the status of the greenhouse village,” Gumbs stated. “The status of the greenhouse village mirrors the status of the 25 by 25 agenda, and we need to understand what is being done to achieve these critical goals.”

Gumbs’s criticism underscores the growing frustration among farmers and agriculture stakeholders over the lack of tangible progress in the sector, calling into question the government’s commitment to its promises and the effective implementation of its agricultural initiatives.

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