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Ah forest wid Miss Marie Warner and bananas

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De good news foh de children of Miss Marie Warner is dat our PM will be calling foh a regional conversation on de de-criminal-eyes-say-shun of Miss Marie Warner foh medicinal purposes. Dis was disclosed by de PM in an address earlier dis week, at de UWI Cave Hill Campus to mark year No. 40 since de establishment of de Faculty of Social Sciences.{{more}}

According to de PM, Miss, Marie Warner as ah crop is less harmful dan our traditional money earner, Mr Green Gold Banana, citing intense cultivation, accompanied wid deforestation and planting above de 1000 foot contour, have caused extensive damages to de environment, which is further compounded during times of extreme weather (flooding etc).

Nobody would refute de PM’s findings, what could be challenged is de fact dat foh decades, de officials at de Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry were never given de much needed pull-it-to-kill support, enforcing de regulations related to felling and burning of trees, and cultivating lands (State Lands) above de 1000 foot contour. We have ah Haiti situation developing hey, way Farmers and coal burners, aided and abetted by dey political representatives, were allowed to chop out valuable forest trees dat normally provided shade. Our hillside dat used to be lush green forest wid wild-life has eroded down to sub-surface landscape.

Ah would agree wid de PM if he says dat Miss Marie Warner is ah bigger money earner dan Bananas; but sorry, he way off when he say dat Miss Marie Warner cultivation is less damaging to de environment. He should ah checked wid Minister of Agriculture, So-butt-ah Seize-her. Just like Bananas, our hillsides in particular lands above Banana cultivations, have been equally deforested to accommodate Miss Marie Warner. All dey get from Go-venom-mint is repeated harassment from de SSU and other regional forces, spraying, burning and destroying de crops. How can we forget dat fear-most statement of promise: “I will hunt dem down till dey exist no more!” Is ah simple routine, de law enforcement officers Advance up in de hills, de Marie Warner Rasta Farmers Retreat further up. Dey don’t just retreat, de clear or deforest new hillside territories and plant dey crop. And why not, no wuk dey, and man ha to survive!

But PM Gone-Soft, could fool me and yuh but not Lie-Za. She said is one of two things. She recalls dat during de December 9 Elect-shuns, NDP did promise to rehabilitate 1000 acres of new Banana lands, employ 500 Banana Farmers wid an income support of five hundred dollars ah month foh one year totaling three million dollars. ULP wid ah recorded failure foh de last 14 years wid Banana product-shun, some people will tell yuh is not Bananas alone dey failed in, however dey countered NDP’s promise by doubling de ULP target to 2000 acres of new Banana lands.

When we expecting de PM to tell us how soon he intends to effect his elect-shun promise to beef up de Banana industry, we are now hearing dat de con-foh-say-shun will be shifted over to Miss Marie Warner which is ah better proposition. Isn’t dis eye-run-ache? Foh de last 14 years Marie Warner Farmers continued to be terror-eyes and harassed by SSU and Police, witness dey crops and farm houses burn. Farmers and hundreds of our youth arrested, beaten and jailed, some get shot and killed all foh de love of Miss Marie Warner. But now we hearing from our PM’s lips dat he is ready to support de de-criminal-eyes-say-shun of dis multi-million industry, believed to be ah major contributor to our underground economy. Oh foh tangled webs…

Lie-Za wants to call it ah side-show to escape dey elect-shun promise to re-vital-eyes Bananas, but she will first listen to de Budget to hear if any money at all in dey foh dis MT promise. Bananas is not ah problem; we are! We have failed miserably by first allowing farmers to deforest de hills, and doing very lickle to restore and replant our forest, ah major factor in de preservation of our environment. Our rivers, springs and water supplies are drying up, we are heading foh serious water problems. Lie-Za is suggestion dat de Forestry Division should do de replanting of trees, and pay both Banana and Miss Marie Warner Farmers, as well as Coals Burners to take care of these trees.

Another exercise is to reintroduce de contouring of de hillside. Once upon ah time our contoured hillside was ah model dat was used by Agriculture students at UWI (Agricultural Science Program) St Augustine. But dat was once upon ah time. We got to patrol de forests wid more vigilance and purpose. Lie-Za will again be listening to de Budget to hear if and how much is voted for reforestation of our mountains. We need to create de environment whereby Banana and Miss Marie Warner Farmers could dwell to-get-her in harmony wid ah well preserved Forest widout causing damages to our beautiful environment. 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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