GUYANA’S OFFER to Barbadians and other nationals of the Caribbean Community for agriculture lands leased merely at BDS$10 per acre over a long period of years, has drawn sharply conflicting positions from spokespersons for the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Not surprisingly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Mia Mottley, who disclosed the offer following her recent visit to Guyana for the Trade and Investment Exposition (GUYEXPO), welcomed the gesture when she spoke of the potentials for both countries’ agricultural and economic development.
Barbados Labour Party position on the Guyana Land Offer
In contrast, the DLP’s candidate for St Michael West, James Paul, was dismissive. He deemed it “nonsensical” and “ridiculous”, and linked the offer to a claimed attempt by the Owen Arthur administration to divert Barbadians’ attention from problems of land acquisition at home with hopes of securing farmlands in Guyana. To follow current public discussions from political platforms, a realistic land policy, embracing issues of ownership, location and usage in the context of integrated agricultural, economic and social development, promise to be one of the major areas of focus for the coming general election. It is not clear whether the DLP’s Paul was reflecting the party’s thinking, or aspects of any related policy, or speaking on his own behalf. In the report published in THE NATION of October 9, Paul said his comments were to be considered in the context of his position as “executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS)”.
Democratic Labour Party position on the Guyana Land Offer
Source: Nation Newspaper
There is a saying, “when something looks too good to be true it probably is so”. The offer made to Barbadians to lease agriculture at $10.00 per acre in Guyana generated hot discussion last month in Barbados. Mia Mottley was the chosen Minister elected to deliver the good news to the nation. We got the impression that she believed Barbadians would have been leaving by the thousands the next day. The decision, we know, fits the government’s vision of a well functioning Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). So what went wrong with this offer? Why have Barbadians been lukewarm to the offer? The finite land space of Barbados, which is 166 square miles, and the skyrocketing price of land should have made this an attractive offer.
A report published in the Guyana Stabroek News paper provides a clue to what many Barbadians must have suspected. The article headlined “Interior agri blighted by transport, pest problems” details a litany of woes being suffered by farmers tilling the soil which span concerns about transportation, markets, pests and climate change negatively impacting their ability to be farmers. Surprisingly, when Guyana Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud visited the two farming areas yesterday (17 October 2007), he requested the farmers to be realistic by recognizing that his ministry had limited resources to respond adequately to all the concerns raised.
Here are two concerns which Guyanese farmers expressed yesterday when the Minister toured the area:
Hannah Williams from Micobie stated that acoushi ants were a major problem resulting in loss of crops and requested seeds.
In the mountainous region, the availability of water was cited as a problem too with one farmer stating that there; they depend on the rainy season. “We don’t want chemicals, we want water”, the man said. Climate change was also on the minds of those present with Bell asserting that “now we can’t even predict the weather” adding that when persons expected rainy weather, it was dry and vice versa.
It is confusing to BU how Guyana could have made this offer to Barbadians and the local Guyanese farmers are experiencing so many problems. What are we missing here? Can anyone fill in the gap? We know that we are missing something!
We apologize for a couple grammatical errors here and there, the WordPress editing tool has not been working since last evening.
you cant farm in the land they want to rent barbados it is forest with lots of wild animals no one lives there. they reserve the good land for locals lilke most countrys. sorry remove barbados from that list they do the opposite reserve beach land and the best land available for foreigners and live the rest for bajan
Not Surprised……..Hia Mottley is a ” BUSH WOMAN ” !
In fact…… she attacks near the bushy part !
Jerome done sen she to Guyana sen she to see the Bajan Bat and Anonymous so she can blow some sense in their heads
All that happen is that Owen and the crew think bajans stupid,but he should know that some went to school and are hoping for that day to see the back of him,he should be glad though,14 years in power,thief all the people money,looking to create more bogus projects to steal more millions before calling elections, leaving us and our children and grandchildren saddled with the bill while he and his live like the true millionaires they are..off our backs.
Carry on smartly Owen,hopefully like Ken from Enron,the FBI will come for you someday..hopefully sooner than you think.
It’s up to any Bajan who might be interested to see exactly what is on offer and make their own decision.
Micobie is just one part of Guyana, and Guyana is a very big country. Anyone with a brain knows that all the land there is NOT in one place.
To the poster above,why don’t you go to Guyana and start to plant then?,why are you here on the net replying to threads showing up this thiefing BLP government?,go to Micobie and start to plant hopefully the guyanese robbers will send you back well packaged,stupid BLP kiss assers.What bajan in his right mind would leave Barbados,risk his life in Guyana just to plant crops?..you go and do it.
This letter was published in the Guyana Stabroek newspaper today. It seems to me that bajans are being pushed in a No-Win position:
It’s easier for Barbadians to borrow than us
Wednesday, October 24th 2007
Permit me to tell my fellow Guyanese of my concerns with the most generous offer by the government of leasing land at US$5 per acre to our Caricom brothers. I use an analogy.
I have in my cupboard bones to feed my dog. My dog is still young and does not have teeth. I invite my neighbour’s mature dog (with teeth) to have dinner with my dog and throw them the bones. Have I fed my dog? Maybe I should wait until my dog gets teeth.
Surely the president is correct in saying that both Guyanese and other Caricom nationals will have to pay the same fee for land but we borrow at 21% interest payable the next month while they enjoy 4-6% with a moratorium.
Consider a case of a Guyanese and a Barbadian wanting to develop a farm and needing to lease 100 acres. To lease this land they have to show by way of a project document how they will attain profitability and the better of the two will get the land. The Barbadian with his significantly lower cost of capital and favourable borrowing terms will win every time since they will have more money to put back into the farm (lower interest) and can make a larger initial investment (moratorium).
I also have not seen reciprocity; of course we have a big heart and a bench at Grantley Adams international.
Mohamed F. Khan
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