There’s a lot that the former Commissioner of the Winston Hall Inquiry could reveal, including where food stuff grown in a prisoners’ garden at Waterford, St Michael ended up.
However, ex-investigator now Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave said today he had chosen not to make the report public because “it would have caused a lot of confusion on the island.
“I was the Commissioner and inquired into the escape of [notorious prisoner] Winston Hall and the prisoners had a wonderful garden at Waterford and used to produce a lot of food out there and a lot of it was abused.
“So I can’t leak the report to you other than to say a lot of the stuff ended up in people’s private mini marts,” Sir Elliott revealed during an official visit to the Barbados Defence Force’s agricultural programme at Paragon, Christ Church in which he encouraged the BDF to give extra produce from the army’s garden project to the needy instead of the supermarkets.
In fact, he suggested that district hospitals would welcome food baskets from the army.
The Governor General said he decided to visit the agricultural project after it was brought to his attention by Sergeant Andrew Worrell, the head butler at Government House.
He spoke about his small kitchen garden at Government House where he grows okras, cabbages, string beans and lettuce.
The Head of State expressed his love for farming, telling those gathered that if he had the opportunity to choose another career, he would have bought five acres of land and plant crops.
“This morning I am very happy to observe this agriculture project and congratulate the BDF for this wonderful initiative. It is an excellent programme and those in charge of it must be congratulated. I hope it will not be discontinued. I would suggest however that it be kept within a manageable size and don’t expand it too rapidly. Do it gradually because kitchen gardens needs close attention,” he urged.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Colonel Alvin Quintyne said the pioneers working the ground were former members of BDF’s sports programme and volunteered to work on the project.
“And your presence here this morning . . . is a source of inspiration not only for me and for the individuals from the BDF who are managing this project. But I am also sure that it is a source of inspiration for these young men who are here in assisting us in producing the crops that are here this morning,” Quintyne said.
The Chief of Staff also expressed the hope that Sir Elliott’s visit would “say to Barbadians we can feed ourselves”.
“It’s hard work but with a bit of commitment, a bit of dedication, I am sure that we can make a dent in our food import bill.
“Yes we are not able to supply all the vegetables we need in the Defence Force but we have made a start and that is all that is required, just a start.”
The Governor General was presented with a basket of produce by the leader of the planting project Warrant Officer Leroy Stuart. (AH)