St Michael West Central MP James Paul has taken his ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) colleague Donville Inniss to task over recent statements he made about the local poultry sector.
Amid concerns about an increase in the importation of chicken and turkey wings, Inniss, who is the Minister of Commerce and Industry, had called on domestic producers “to grow up and stop being childish and nit-picking”, while stating that the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation was a competent statutory entity empowered to import chicken wings.
However, Paul, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, said Thursday he was of the view that illegal importation of chicken and turkey wings was much more widespread than first contemplated.
Speaking to reporters at the BAS headquarters, the Grotto, Beckles Road, St Michael he also took Inniss to task for claiming that the egg and poultry farmers were “nit-picking”.
On the contrary, Paul said whenever these BAS members speak out against illegal importation, they do so based on empirical evidence.
He also condemned what he called the class snobbery which exists in Barbadian society, while highlighting the importance of the poultry sector to providing employment and saving foreign exchange.
“When the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association complains about something, they are not told they are nit-picking; when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry speak out they are not told they were nit-picking and when businessmen claimed that they did not know how to implement the National Social Responsibility Levy they were not told they were nit-picking,” said Paul.
Pointing out that 45 per cent of the local industry was controlled by small farmers, Paul said: “I would encourage Barbadians to support the industry. They are doing their best to be responsible stakeholders.”
He said the BAS had committed itself to a study, which will aim to provide answers to what is occurring in the industry at any given time. He recalled that some weeks ago there was evidence that there was illegal importation of chicken wings and upon investigation by officials, he said, the report was found to be true.