The full development and utilisation of the Scotland District will feature prominently in the agriculture plans of a future Barbados Labour Party Government.
This was made clear by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur in a recent interview with Barbados TODAY in which he lamented when he termed the neglect of this hill slice of Barbados, much of which is highly susceptible to landslides.
“In the area of agriculture,” Arthur said. “I sincerely believe that one of the most critical things is to implement the Scotland District Authority and get on with the job of the redevelopment of the Scotland District.
“A large portion of Barbados’ agriculture will eventually go to the Scotland District because it is where you have the best soil, and water – but it has largely been abandoned. There is a plan for it though, and once you do that you will find that we are quite quickly going to be able to address issues of food security, etc.”
The former Prime Minister explained though that because of prevailing world trends, resuscitating agriculture in Barbados will not be easy
“But we also recognise that agriculture is always going to be a tough act in Barbados, as in many small jurisdictions all over the world, because agriculture is very heavily subsidised on the developed countries in particular.
“Unfortunately, in a country like Barbados, we don’t have the means to subsidise it, so therefore we have to be very strategic in how we approach it.
“I am gravely concerned about the future of the sugar industry, because we are producing sugar at a substantial loss and the plans that were in place to diversify the sugar industry into a sugar can industry to be able to produce things other than sugar have been allowed to fall into abeyance.
“Food security can become a growth area in the future, but in many respects a lot of it will have to be in the Scotland District, where, with proper rehabilitation a lot of activity can be located.”
Commenting generally on the management of the Barbados economy, Arthur said:
“Barbados needs to get back on a growth path. It also needs to find a way to deal with development matters. The Barbados brand is still a great brand, but the correct things are not being done to make us that brand to carry Barbados forward.
“We need to focus on the few key essential things that will make the difference and do them well. That is what managing an economy in a small society is about. In a small society you don’t have to be concerned about nuclear armaments because you don’t have any… There are a few key things that have to be done, and done well.
“We have to do our tourism well, our international business well – and these are two areas where the potential exists for us to make progress, but where the biggest mistakes are being made.
“But there us hope. We can get out of this situation. There are other small countries that are managing. There are countries which were not doing well before, but which re doing well now, like Guyana.
“It is sad that in Barbados we are in this situation where people are looking for excuses for ineptitude. The problems are not such that they cannot be rustled to the ground.” (RRM)