DNA representative gives local agricultural sector a failing grade

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The Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) candidate for St. Paul and spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries, Gameal Joyce, has expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in the country’s agricultural sector.
Joyce, in an interview on OBSERVER AM, said he would give the sector an “ungraded” using the Caribbean Examination Council’s grading terminology.
His grievances are founded on the observation that the country’s land practices do not seem to be supported by any sort of strategic planning.
He said, “There needs to be some planning as to how they will do the clearing. A lot of people don’t realize that when you are clearing grass or bush you are taking away dirt, habitat…. and important parts of our ecosystem.”
He further recounted reports from various bee-keepers that indicate that there has been a decrease in the bee population due to the clearing of lands which eliminate certain species of animals in the ecosystem.
In addition to land use practices, he further explained that his failing grade for the sector is attributed to the Agriculture Ministry’s budget which does not facilitate the inclusion of any tangible initiatives.  “It shows that they have no interest in improving the whole sector of agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda!” he exclaimed.
Joyce reaffirmed his support for the DNA’s call for a proper Land Use Act to be enforced with the sole aim of safeguarding residents and important wild life from dust, fumes and other toxic chemicals and pollutants.  “We in the DNA believe in putting structure into everything…we are not seeing any progress,” He said.
He was particularly concerned about the land-clearing that has been taking place in areas near the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and suggested that appropriate consultations be done before any sort of clearing is conducted. In addition, he recommended practices such as replanting and renewing the soil after clearing.
According to Joyce, mechanisms must be put in place should Antigua and Barbuda wish to eradicate some of the issues currently facing the ‘failing’ sector. In his opinion, “There is a need for a molding of the minds.”
Joyce believes the DNA consists of well-trained individuals whose skills are not currently being effectively utilized, and who have the technical capacity to make a necessary contribution to many government sectors.
Joyce spoke passionately on behalf of his party, saying, “We in the DNA are trying to change the whole dynamic of how people look at politics. We are trying to show people that it is also their responsibility to put certain things in place to bring something beautiful to their different communities.”

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