Friday, July 22, 2016

Upside Down, Back to Front Government

One of the most impactful calypsos of all time was the 2012 calypso written by the masterful songwriter Pat Aaron and sang by the Vigilante. –“Everything is upside down, everything inside out, everything back to front.” As we continue to read about the abattoir woes , questions regarding the coffee plant , the Morocco Hotel, Layou Hotel  and recently the missing apartments keep popping up. Ironically the song “Everything is upside down “ was written and produced prior to the  coffee plant, Morocco Hotel, the abattoir and the missing apartment woes yet Pat was already highlighting “Upside downess.” If things were not upside down  in 2012, then Pat Aaron may have been prophesizing in 2012 because it is quite evident that the government seem to be working back to front, inside out  and “douvant derrier”.
“If I didn’t know better I would swear is voodoo working in Dominica”- I have been trying to figure out what went wrong with the coffee plant. At least Ian Douglas told us that the reason the Morocco Hotel is moribund is that the Moroccans went back to figure out whether a Caribbean or an Arabic architectural finish is most appropriate for the Morocco hotel. I can’t wait to hear what Ian has to offer about the nonfunctional coffee plant in his constituency.
While we wait for Ian to make us laugh, here is what we have found out about the coffee plant. The late president Hugo Chavez on his last visit to Dominica in June, 2009, promised that his government would provide Dominica with a modern coffee processing plant. Construction of the coffee plant facility began in July of 2013. The facility was completed in July of 2014. In fact, in February of 2014, the PM promised that the coffee plant would be “grinding and packaging coffee for export to the Caribbean and South America.” So far the only grinding taking place is that of a grinding halt of the coffee plant and the continuous packaging of lies.
One year old coffee bags at One Mile coffee plant
Since the completion of the facility in 2014, the government imported 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of coffee beans to begin coffee production. According to credible information received, the government was expecting $8 Million dollars in revenue from the tax payers’ investment in the imported coffee beans. We know for a fact that the 4,000 pounds of coffee beans have rotted and are currently pulverizing inside the coffee factory at One Mile, Portsmouth. The attached photos bare testimony of truth– inside images of the bags of coffee beans at the One Mile coffee factory.
In 2014 Prime Minister Skerrit also declared that the ministry of agriculture had distributed more than 6,000 coffee seedlings to farmers in order to supplement the coffee plant operation. We went on the ground to follow up on these coffee plants only to find out that the farmers never received any coffee seedlings, and so in spite of the rotten coffee beans inside of the facility, there is no reliable supply from the few coffee trees on the island. The largest coffee holding is owned by prominent farmer Mr. Louis and we know that Mr. Louis has a slim chance of doing business with a vindictive and oppressive Roosevelt Skerrit government.

One year old coffee bags at One Mile coffee plant
The US $12 million dollar question is - Why is it that the US $12 million coffee plant is nonfunctional so much so that added millions of dollars of coffee beans are  now rotted and is a severe health and environmental hazard? We hope that the health minister, the hazmat authorities, and the environmental authorities are all taking this matter seriously.

The people of Dominica and in particular the people of Portsmouth should be concerned about the “coffee jobs” that were promised but more importantly the people must demand answers on the storage and or whereabouts of the 2 tons of coffee beans as we will see later that the improper storage of coffee beans could be dangerous to our health and environment.

We are also aware that the government established the VENIDOM group to manage and operate the coffee plant. In addition a plane was chattered to fly 20 Dominicans into Venezuela for hands on training in coffee processing. Today these VENIDOM trainees are impatiently waiting in vain – very much like the 300 Morocco Hotel trainees who have been waiting for 48 months for the employment that was promised.

One year old coffee bags at One Mile coffee plant
The Roosevelt Skerrit government continues to disrespect the citizenry and therefore it is no surprise that the government will not respond to any questions regarding the white elephant coffee factory. In fact one year ago there was an attempt by the government to covertly dispose of the decomposing coffee beans now sitting inside the factory. The Roosevelt Skerrit government is typically brazen and shameless and so we thought that there had to be a reason why the government wanted to conceal the dumping of the decomposing coffee beans. So we decided to do our own research on the coffee bean and the possible environmental and health impacts. What we have found out is quite alarming and disconcerting. Is the government hiding much more than their incompetence? Check this out.

The Potential Health and Environmental Disaster At The Coffee Plant

Multiple Studies  and extensive research have concluded that, mycotoxins are very much associated with coffee beans. Mycotoxins are toxic chemical products produced by molds which grow on agricultural crops. Mycotoxins thrive on high moisture content, high relative humidity, and warm temperatures. Exposure to mycotoxins is mainly through ingestion, dermal, and respiratory passages.

There are over 300 known mycotoxins however there are two types most associated with Coffee:  Ochratoxin A, commonly known as OTA and Aflatoxin B1 which is declared as a carcinogen and is said to be very harmful in large doses. Exposure to these mycotoxins in indoor environments has been linked to a number of adverse health effects to include, asthma, dermatitis, pneumonitis. Generally, mycotoxins have shown severe economic impacts through loss of agricultural products and to include loss of human and animal life.

Close up look of rotting Coffee Beans
with mold and fungus
Raw coffee stored for long periods in warehouses develop high levels of Ochratoxin ,OTA,  thus the reason coffee producers don’t like holding large quantities of raw coffee. Coffee stored in particularly warm and humid environments  with poor ventilation will develop mould and fungus with microbiological and biochemical processes. At this juncture it is important to note the coffee plant in Portsmouth was built to process coffee – it is not a storage facility.

The attached photos of the Portsmouth coffee plant now the storage site for the imported coffee beans show a seemingly abandoned facility which is being over taken by shrubs and bushes. We have found out that it is very important that a coffee storage facility should be kept free of vegetation and garbage. An active pest control system should also be in place. Just like Roosevelt Skerrit did after the “Goatville “ article,  we expect that a few guys will be cutting down the bushes at the facility within the next few days. I sincerely hope that the health and harzmat authorities do some air quality testing at the site before allowing workers to get in and around the coffee plant facility.

Entrance to shuttered One Mile coffee plant
We expect nothing more from this inept, lazy, corrupt, and incompetent government. One thing about all benefactors is that they expect gratitude and a show of appreciation. Hugo Chavez meant well when he donated the coffee factory, yet the ungrateful Labor Party government does not see it necessary to at least demonstrate that the people are gaining the benefits of the coffee factory. But the Skerrit led government has always been about deception – no substance, no credibility. Simply a turtle on its back.

Now that we have declared what we know, we would like to ask PM Skerrit and his “cabinot” the following questions. How do you intend to dispose of the mycotoxin infested coffee beans? Will PM Skerrit and his “cabinot” purchase coffee beans for the next 5 years in order to keep the coffee factory operational? When will the farmers receive the 60,000 coffee plants or will these plants be delivered together with the farmers boat that was promised 8 years ago? If Roosevelt Skerrit can’t successfully commission a coffee factory that was handed to him by Hugo Chavez, God knows what will happen when he buys DCP.

In the interim the people of Dominica and particularly the people of Portsmouth, must first be honest with themselves in order to recognize that under the Roosevelt Skerrit led government everything is truly upside down and everything is back to front.

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