Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul is demanding more agricultural representation on the Town and Country Planning Board.
Paul’s call came in response to a formal notice for the closure of DL Prestige Farms sent by the Chief Town Planner. Town and Country Planning ruled that owner of DL Prestige Farms, Gregory Forde has until March 29th to remove the pig pens which he erected between January 2016 and February 2019. The enforcement notice stated that Forde developed and operated the area without permission from Town and Country Planning.
“I am worried that, in terms of the [Town and Country
Planning Board that is there to consider applications, we do not have enough representation from the farming community on that board. I am not satisfied that it is only going to be the chief agricultural officer that is there, a lone voice representing agriculture,” stressed Paul.
He described the response by authorities and residents in the district as “insensitive” and “intolerant”. He believed that the appropriate ministry could have reached out to Forde and inform him of the “best practices” or codes of conduct for farming.
“The ministry . . . should have reached out to that business or farm and see how they can work with the farmer or the individual of the business in terms of trying to institute best practices,” Paul told Barbados TODAY.
“I hope this not representative of an oncoming attack and an assault of farms in general . . . I hope the public at large isn’t saying to farmers of this country that we will not tolerate you next to us,” he continued.
The villagers of Applewhaites, St George have continuously complained about the offensive odour emanating from Forde’s property. They have gone as far as writing the Ministry of Health and Wellness to inform them about the health ailments that residents have suffered since the farm was established in 2016.
However, Paul saw this as “a conservative attack” of farms in residential areas. He revealed that there have been cases where residents in urban developments opposed the existence of livestock farms, referring to them as a disturbance.
“I am hoping this does not represent a conservative attack on farms that are juxtaposed to residences even when that farm was there for a number of years,” Paul stated.
He suggested that the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the Ministry of Agriculture needed to distribute operational guidelines for farmers noting that, if they didn’t set strict regulations, the “attack on farms” and “insensitive and intolerant approach” would continue.
“I would think that if a farming operation satisfies the basic criteria in terms of if it is run properly, it has good agricultural practices , that we don’t have a situation where that person’s livelihood is jeopardized by people who basically are not tolerant and very insensitive to farms because they feel the existence of farms devalues their property,” the BAS CEO stressed.