Hutchinson Condemns Pickersgill's Labelling of Farmers as Thieves

Release Date: 
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 11:30

Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, JC Hutchinson, is condemning the reference by Minister Robert Pickersgill to farmers in Giblatore St Catherine, as thieves, and is calling on him to immediately retract the statement.

Mr. Huthchinson said: "I find Minister Pickersgill's labelling of the farmers as thieves to be offensive, unworthy and intemperate.  He must provide nothing less than an immediate retraction and sincere apology to the farmers of Giblatore and of Jamaica."

He continued: "The Opposition is not unmindful of the allegations levelled against the farmers, as we, like all law abiding citizens, promote socially responsible behaviour and stand for law and order.

We believe however, that Mr Pickersgill’s comments show a real disregard for the farmers’ hard work in helping to feed the nation, and display complete insensitivity to their frustrations which are borne out of legitimate concerns.  Minister Pickersgill would do better to concentrate his efforts on making much needed irrigation water and other key infrastructure available to them."

The Agriculture spokesperson went on to note that Mr. Pickersgill’s remarks were made in a neighbouring constituency, in the same parish  where he also represents many farmers.  He said this made the Minister's comments even more offensive and that he was forced to ask if the Minister also considers his farming constituents to be thieves.

The Opposition Spokesman said the Government is again showing that it is out of touch with the realities of the nation's farmers and that it is not doing enough to mitigate the hardships confronting them.   He said it was this very failure to provide critical resource support and ensure that key infrastructure is available to the nation's farmers, that has led to the failure of at least one of the new Agro Parks.