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Look again at fishery development plans

Thursday, January 6, 2011

For almost six months, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has unsuccessfully sought a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources. In a press statement headed “2010 highlights and 2011 plans, Minister Vasant Bharath announced plans for fishery development. (Fisheries currently employ in excess of 50,000 people according to Government data.) The published 2011 plans announced by the minister lists 15 fish-landing sites to be set up with basic amenities in Cocorite, Maracas, Matelot, Morne Diablo, Claxton Bay, Cedros, Toco, Cumana, Balandra, Gran Chemin, Erin, Fullerton, Otaheite, San Souci and Gran Riviere.

By what process did the minister arrive at these 15 sites? Why were primary stakeholders not consulted?
Is the minister not aware that Las Cuevas is the largest landing site on the North Coast? Is Gran Riviere not a tourism site for the nesting of turtles, and not currently used by fishermen? Why has Tobago and the East Coast been left out? Are they not part of T&T? Are we once again seeing a creeping ministerial arrogance?  

It is not too late to adopt the humility of the Prime Minister and rethink hasty and potentially erro- neous decisions that can have a lasting negative impact on our society. This is not the accessible, open and consultative governance that we were promised. FFOS continues to appeal to the minister for a meeting to discuss these and other equally pressing issues.

Gary Aboud