Dec 09, 2016 News
Barbadian Member of Parliament, Edmund Hinkson, wants Guyanese to boost the island’s agriculture, and has said that the country erred in sending back to Guyana a large number of these workers between 2008 and 2010.
Noting the decline in the island’s agriculture since the Guyanese were booted out, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party Parliamentarian has urged Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to use his close friendship with President David Granger to work out an arrangement where Guyanese with knowledge in agriculture could be brought to Barbados to work for specific periods.
Hinkson made the plea in the Barbados Parliament on Tuesday during a debate on a resolution for government to guarantee a loan of Bar$73 million (Bar$1 = US 50 cents) to its ailing sugar industry. He recalled that when the current government came to power in 2008, led by now deceased Prime Minister David Thompson, it embarked on a programme of mass deportation of Guyanese, many of whom had been working in agriculture production.
“So we sent home the Guyanese who were enhancing the agriculture sector of Barbados.
“So what is the policy now on this issue?” he asked, noting that in order to support the plan to use the $73 million in the sugar industry, it would need such workers, who are not now present on the island.
Hinkson spoke of Guyanese working prior to 2008 under the then Barbados Labour Party government, “and keeping that sector above water,” but he added, “They were discouraged. They were sent home to the detriment of the agriculture sector and other aspects of the Barbados economy”.
“These people were here spending money, paying rent, buying clothes, increasing the economy of Barbados.”
He advised Prime Minister Stuart – who received Guyana’s second highest honour, The Order of Roraima, in February – to ignore the position of the late Prime Minister Thompson, who Stuart succeeded, and devise a programme for getting Guyanese workers back on the island.
Hinkson noted that the Central Bank of Barbados has reported on a continued decline in agricultural production over recent years.
He said, “we can only urge the Prime Minister to look at this issue, and if it is that we need to bring in people from the Caribbean to work the agriculture industry under a regulated basis, not saying en masse, and a farm labour type programme for a few months a year, let us do that”.
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