By: St. Clair Sazam Hull
(CHARLESTOWN NEVIS)-On the morning of Thursday March 27, 2014, all roads led to the Charlestown Secondary School Grounds also known as ‘The Villa’ for the open day of the 2014 Agricultural Food Fair.
The event was conducted under the distinguished patronage, of William and Emontine Thompson of Brown Hill Village Nevis who have been in the farming business for over four (4) decades.
Under its theme “On the Road to Food Security for Open Day Twenty” persons from all around the island showed up in huge numbers to witness the start of the two day event. The ceremony began with the National Anthem. This was followed by the invocation by Pastor Simeon Prentice.
Chairperson of the event, Mr. Eric Evelyn gave the opening remarks. He told those in attendance that he was delighted and humbled to be part of such a significant occurrence. He noted however, that this year’s event was no ordinary event since it was the twentieth anniversary of its existence.
Mr. Evelyn indicated to the gathering that he was energized and elated because Nevisians are now witnessing an extraordinary period for Agriculture on the island of Nevis. He continued, “These are exciting times for agriculture and all those who are involve in the industry and these two days which are about to unfold promises to be special”. In conclusion Mr. Evelyn took the opportunity to pay homage to his hardworking and dedicated staff at his department.
Mr. Keithly Amory, who currently serves as Director of Agriculture also gave some brief remarks. Mr. Amory, speaking on the theme chosen for the event, indicated that food security exist, when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food, to meet their needs and preferences, to enable them to live active and healthy lives. He also stated that over the years, the department has stressed the need for increased food production on the island and for Nevisians to consume more of what they produce.
Amory pointed out that the department was there, to encourage people to increase food production for the betterment of all Nevisians. Mr. Amory concluded, by giving heartfelt thanks to all the sponsors who have been supportive of the event during these tumultuous times.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the popular television station ‘Tempo’, Mr. Frederick Morton Jr. who journeyed from New Jersey in order to be a part of the highly significant occasion also gave some inspiring remarks. Mr. Morton stated to those gathered, that it was indeed a pleasure to be among the persons in attendance. He stated that it does not matter which part of the world he is, the feeling of being home in Nevis supersedes everything. He continued, “Every time I am home I get reinvigorated because Nevis is such an incredibly special place and there’s a certain atmosphere in Nevis that cannot be experienced anywhere else”.
Mr. Morton also indicated that events such as the Agriculture Open Day are vastly important because the Caribbean has moved away from agriculture over the last several decades and the consequences have been detrimental. He noted that the return to agriculture and to comprehend its importance is something he wholeheartedly embraces because the ability for people to feed themselves is fundamental.
Morton said there is nothing more exciting than planting a seed, watering it and watching it come to fruition. In closing he told the audience that they already knew that “Badness is out of style but we have something which is in style and it’s called agriculture’.
Minister responsible for Agriculture, Hon. Alexis Jeffers also addressed the gathering. He said that his Ministry has been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that progress is been made in such an important sector. Jeffers also noted that it is necessary for people to get involved in that particular field since food is always a necessity.
The Minister claimed that special attention will be paid to the growth of onions for 2014. In conclusion Hon. Jeffers lauded the patrons for been selected from an outstanding batch. He said, “I want to commend the Patrons for this year’s event and not just Emontine but also Williams as well, we all know the saying, “behind every great man there is a great woman but at times it is the other way around”.
Entertainment was provided by one of the most accomplished poets on the island of Nevis, Earl ‘Pancho’ Hanley, who recited a poem entitled ‘Moving Towards Food Security’ this was followed by an exceptional performance by King Meeko and Deli Ranks, ‘We love de festival’.
The event is scheduled to be broadcast on ‘Tempo’ at a later date.