by Linda Straker
- Senator Roderick St Clair delivered his maiden presentation in the Upper House
- More financial investment needed in both sectors
- Disaster management plan needed for sectors to withstand external shocks
The need for more money, effective communications and efficient lobbying for the sectors, are some of the shortcomings identified by Senator Roderick St Clair when he delivered his maiden presentation in the Upper House on 10 November, and spoke about the challenges in the sectors he represents.
St Clair was elected by the members of the farming and fishing communities to represent them in the Upper House following the resignation of Dr Dunstan Campbell. Campbell was elected following the 2018 General Election but resigned due to ill health.
St Clair who is presently the General Manager of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), has a long history of involvement in agriculture which started with assisting his father in the lands while a minor and having his own agricultural plots after graduating from secondary school. He taught agriculture science and worked for over 20 years at the Grenada Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB).
Focusing on what he described as weaknesses in the sectors he represents, St Clair told the 13-member Senate there is a need for more financial investment in both sectors. “We need to have more money available,” he said and referred to initiatives in some African nations that are successfully changing the achievement of agricultural projects. “We need a supportive government framework,” and explained there is also a need to have a proper disaster management plan that can withstand external shocks caused by the hazards and public health pandemics such as Covid-19.
Recommending that there needs to be more capacity building and skills training of those directly involved in the sectors, St Clair said that initiatives with these goals would serve the sectors well, and in turn, bring financial benefits.
“Farmers are happy at the end of the day when they start making money. Go into Clozier, and they will tell you about when bananas were being exported, they have money. When nutmeg was flourishing, businesses in Grenville were operational,” as he referred to the interconnection between farming and a striving community.
“We need to bring this life back,” he said, promising to engage with people in the sectors through a structured format.
St Clair was welcomed to the Senate by President Chester Humphrey and other members.