October 28, 2017: Some seven hundred and thirteen (713) agriculture and fisheries stakeholders are set to receive their relief cheques, which commenced on Friday 27th October, 2017 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries’ new Head Office Building with twenty-two farmers among the first to receive their cheques, representing the counties of Caroni, Nariva/Mayaro, St Patrick (East), St. Andrew/St. David, St. George East, St. George West, and County Victoria.
‘We wanted to show that the process has started. We wanted to let the tax payers know that what they asked us to do, we have done – which is given the nature of the weather and given what happened, as a Government we were asked to provide some additional support, and we have done that; said Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries as he delivered the Feature Address at the brief Ceremony. Further, ‘we are having this event here at our new Head Office because I wanted to say to you and to the farmers and fisherfolk and to the tax payers of this country that this building belongs to you and for your business; it is a signal from the Government that it places agriculture and food production at the heart of its work; and it is also a building that is located in the heartland of agriculture’.
Through a multi-pronged mitigation programme, said Mr. Farook Hosein, Permanent Secretary (Ag.), the Ministry uses water management, flood control measures, education and training to lessen the deleterious effects of natural disasters on our farmers.
The total compensation represented just about $11,700,000.00 of the Bret Relief Fund set up by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to assist in a collaborative recovery efforts; an announcement that was made at the Post-Cabinet media conference on June 22nd.
Short and tree crops; livestock; nets, boats and engines were among the losses recorded. Some of the hardest hits areas included Barrackpore, Penal, Debe, Siparia, Rio Claro, Mayaro and Sangre Grande. ‘You would have seen your hard work gone to waste’ were the words used by Mr. Kirk Armour, Director – Regional Administration North, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; to express the general feeling of the farmers who were negatively affected by the devastation.
Some of the recipients were taken on a brief tour of the new Head Office. Also addressing the audience were Dr. Michelle Mellows, Director – Regional Administration South, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries. Attending the event were Dr. Simone Titus, Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; and Mrs. Nirmalla Persad, CEO (Ag.), NAMDEVCO; among others.