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De Agriculture Minister See-Ah-Keys

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De late Lieut. Col. S.A, “Andy” Anderson, born and bred in Jah-mek-her was SVG’s first Black Police Chief. He served as Chief from 1954 to 1970; took over from de last White Colonial Chief, Jenkins. His Deputy was another Black Officer, Capt Cousins, also from Jah-mek-her. Andy was undoubtedly one ah de more progressive of the list of Police Chiefs. He got ah Police Steel Band started by recruiting two ah de leading Panmen, Tanny Peters and Vin Cato, in de Fire Service. That Band actually toured Canada. He introduced Police weekly Social Night; Introduced Athletics Meeting in de Force, one recalls laughing all 400 lbs of him in de 100 metre dash; wining de prize every year foh coming last. He planted ah Jah-mek-her Ackee Tree in every Police Stay-shun thru-out SVG. Are any ah those plants around?

Ackee, of course, is de Nah-shun-all fruit of Jah-mek-her, forms part of dat Jah-mek-ah-Dish “Ackee and Salt fish,” fear-most world-wide. Vin-scent-shuns are not crazy about Ackee and Salt-fish; we prefer Bread-fruit and Salt-fish, even though de Vin-see Nah-shun-all dish is Bread-fruit and Jack-fish, ah rare and seasonal species of local fish. Actually ah have two Ackee trees around de house, one never bore ah fruit yet, dat got to be ah male or (man-ackee) not monarchy, eh. The other tree took at least 5 years to bear, dat is definitely ah female, bears too much, unfortunately de tree is nearly 40 feet tall, out ah reach, so ah get very lickle of de fruit.

Now Agriculture Minister See-saw like he had too much of it to eat; he went on Radio and had ah mouthful to say about the plant, inviting Vin-scent-shuns to plant Ackee, and even sets ah target of 75, 000 trees to be distributed here and planted as follows: 5, 000 plants in phase one, 20, 000 plants in phase two, and 50, 000 in phase three. Ah say if dis is not madness it is crazy, Well dey’s Google so ah read up on this miracle plant. Ackee has good nutritional value: “Fibre that’s very good foh de colon, also Vitamins B, B1, B2, B3; Protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, No cholesterol etc.” And long ago dey uses to boil de leaves foh Colds and Flu. Ah bet soon dey go say it good foh COVID 19! But while Ackee enhances de menu, it can’t stand up alone like Breadfruit or Banana; yuh have to cook it wid some kind ah meat, like Salt-fish, dat is highly recommended.

Tell me why must I put such ah massive Ackee tree in my yard that will tek up so much land space, and 5 to 7 years to bear, when ah could plant ah crop of Egg Plant, dat grows three feet and bears in three months. And like Ackee, the Eggplant is a high-fiber, low-calorie food that is rich in nutrients with many potential health benefits, e.g.

Protein, Manganese; Folate: Carbs; Potassium; Minerals, Vitamin K; Vitamin C. Eggplant contains several substances that promote Blood Sugar control, substances in fighting cancer cells.

But where is Massah Bread-fruit, de slave food, in all ah dis? S/he stands her own alone! Roasted, boiled, Fried, Baked, mek Flour, mek Salad, mek Punch, mek Gas (Flatulence) tek de board mek house and furniture, Coffin or underground Furniture according to “OT”. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a cup of raw breadfruit contains Fibre, Protein, sugar and a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin B complex, among others.

As part of its Food Security Program in T’n’T ah few years ago, dey were asking every home owner to plant a Breadfruit tree on dey property. Instead of aiming at 75, 000 Ackee Trees, why not go foh one Breadfruit and one Banana Plant per property in SVG, Lie-Za say like Minister Sees-Ah-Key and not Ackee! And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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