Thursday, December 13, 2018


Plant Propagation Building in Portsmouth 

When the Prime Minister decided to replace Johnson Drigo with Reginald Austria for the role of Minister of Agriculture many believed that the government was yielding to the opposition advice that agriculture must become a priority mission. It was stated that through his seniority Reginald Austrie should bring more effective management to the ministry of agriculture but alas it is just another case of Lipstick on the same pig or in colloquial expression “ Tiwais Boudere metais pailles”  

The only thing that Reginald Austrie is known for is his unexplained accumulation of wealth, a foul mouth and a bully mentality. After 18 years Reginald Austrie has no claim to fame other than hijacking the Petro Caribe portfolio from beginning to end. Being an elected politician for 18 years does not make someone an effective manager particularly a man who has consciously decided to dwell on gutter politics and mepuis as oppose to intellectual and management capacity development. Under the leadership of Reginald Austrie the Ministry Of Agriculture is under more turmoil than it was under Johnson Johno Drigo. Today the farmers  cannot get planting material because the plant propagation operation is in abeyance and has been severely neglected by the government of Dominica. Just imagine MOA wants happy go lucky Johnno to be back as Minister of Agriculture

At some point today Thursday December 13 the government will be hosting an agricultural consultation program where they will be trying to impress the invited guest and visitors. It is our hope that during the consultation program someone will ask the government officials about the perilous status of the plant propagation program in Dominica. We would also like to find out the reasons for the low morale among the staff and the reason for the resignation of the highly trained and resourceful horticulture professional by the name of Talifa. It is alleged that DLP henchman Rickie Brumant made it his point of duty to frustrate Talifa to the point that he promised her that she will never be promoted nor be appointed under his watch.

Is that the waygovernment intends to build resilience and capacity- by destroying hard working  professionals just to promote venality and ineptitude? We understand that Mr. Blandford  a known corrupt DLP operative and senior staff in the Ministry Of Agriculture (MOA), was given the added title of Crop Rehabilitation Specialist however it is well known that Mr Blandford has been a major player in the failing plant propagation program. We understand that the move to designate a  Crop Rehabilitation Specialist is part of a ploy to facilitate and enable the draw down of funds from the international donor agencies.

With a plethora of complaints and inbox messages from farmers, MiTC decided to look deeper into the matter involving the failing plant propagation program and so we visited several agricultural stations throughout the island. What we found out was deeply disturbing. Since Hurricane Maria not one propagation station around the island has been repaired or rehabilitated and the staffs at the various stations are under duress and frustration with nowhere to perform their duties.

We also found out that the morale among the staff is at an all-time low; so much so, that within the last 9 months 9 staff members have resigned from the Botanical gardens station due to poor working conditions, bad management and political shenanigans. Agriculture relief material that was donated by international agencies are being misappropriated in the interest of political posturing and farmers can’t get the tools, seeds and water tanks that were donated exclusively to the farmers of Dominica. It is high time the DLP operatives like  Dr. Reginald Thomas, Blandford, Rickie Brumant or Ryan Anslem now acting director be called to give an account of their involvement in the mismanagement and corruption at the gardens. These DLP operatives should also explain why it is that the Citrus Certification facility at the gardens is in such a deplorable condition when Dominica should be actively rebuilding the citrus program after the devastation of Hurricane Maria .

On our visit to the La Plain Station we had a rude awakening. In addition to not having a proper place to sit down the employees do not have access to a washroom facility. The staff has had to use the neighboring plot of land to relieve themselves and as a result the owner of the abounding property has lodged a complaint in the form of written letters to both the ministry of health and the ministry of agriculture. We understand that the Ministry Of health is taking matter seriously.  

The stations at Grand Bay and Woodford Hill are also in mess. In Portsmouth, the staff working with the propagation unit has had to set up their work space in what was a pig raring area. We understand that the situation is so bad at the Portsmouth area that Reginald Austrie has ordered the immediate shutdown of the propagation unit and that all the staff member should report to the Chinese facility in Portsmouth sometime next week.  
DLP Building Under Repair
With 18 years of repressive governance the people of Dominica have become numb to corruption, incompetence and mismanagement in government however itis still baffling that while the government has shown no interest in repairing facilities that are of paramount importance to the farmers and the plant propagation program on the island PM Skerrit and his goons still have the audacity to utilize the country’s resources-the  relief material and even foreign volunteer aids to renovate the Labor Party building in the center of Roseau while the government totally neglects employees working in deplorable conditions.

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