Lloyd Browne Union Island resident Agricultural Officer
EDITOR: The Government-owned house where he lived still stands at Badeau, Ashton, Union Island. It is now occupied by the Union Island Museum Society. Agriculture must have held a high place in the Colonial Government for Union Island to have a Resident Agricultural Officer. The high standard of Farming and Animal Husbandry then, are testament of Lloyd Browne’s influence.
He paid the Government Farming workers 24 shillings per day. With this money they were able to make their necessary shopping for their families. More importantly though, the people transferred the techniques learnt to their own family farms.
Besides the actual cultivation of crops and the minding of animals, attention was paid to forestry, the forest reserves, the watershed areas, ponds, wells, beach vegetation and mangroves. Ensuring that each family had a cadre of fruit trees around the houses to supply vital minerals and vitamins was evidenced. Guavas, plums, coconut, sugar apples, mangoes, and citrus featured prominently.
I remember playing in clean water in the Dry River when it rained. This was evidence that the watershed areas, the hill sides were well contoured with grass, stones, and terraced in some cases. Erosion was minimal and the top soil was being conserved. Less debris ended up in the sea. The mangrove and swamp areas allowed runoff waters to settle before reaching the sea. Trees were valued and could not be cut down indiscriminately. It was clear that respect for the environment was valued.
There was a delicate balance between the cultivated plants and the animal keepers. The effect of Mr. Lloyd Browne, the Resident Agricultural Officer, was visible everywhere. There were even Cedar trees, Hog plums, and Tamarind planted along the roadside to provide shade for the weary traveler.
When I look in the parking lot of the Ministry of Agriculture I see many cars being cultivated there. I wish we could have an Agricultural Officer stationed in Union Island again as part of our “Local Government.” When this happens the island will take on a whole new look, the people will be healthier, happier and more productive. Each community in St. Vincent could do well with a Resident Agricultural Officer. The farmers would be better off for it and our country would be more fruitful.
Anthony Stewart, PhD