The delay in payment under the Farmers/Fishers Income Support Programme rests solely at the feet of officials in the Ministry of Agriculture.
This apportioning of ‘blame’ was made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves during last Tuesday sitting of Parliament.
The Prime Minister admitted to at least two reasons why the payment was not fully effected: that there was an inadequate number of persons to distribute the monies, and a change in payment locations.
“Those at the Ministry of Agriculture charged with making the payments dropped the ball on payment to the farmers. I regret and I am really sorry that farmers had to turn out yesterday and they didn’t have enough persons making the payment. And it has been drawn to my attention, entirely false, that one or two public servant said that the money run out. There was no money run out, all the money was released, every single penny. In fact they walk back with money,” a visibly irate Dr. Gonsalves told Parliament.
The Prime Minister also disclosed that a number of persons had had their names removed from the list, and he has alerted the relevant authorities to the issue.
“I urged those farmers whose names have been dropped from the list to contact the Ministry of Agriculture and to make certain that they got a proper explanation as to why their names are not on the list. It is true that it is a small number but one person not on the list legitimately is one person too many,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
On a note that sounded like a broad caution, the Prime Minister declared that when public servants are charged with a responsibility they must carry it out and carry it out in a manner to the satisfaction of the public.
Source: Keniville Horne