Mon | Dec 11, 2017

RADA threatens to back out of Denbigh over health concerns

Published:Tuesday | June 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

Deplorable conditions at last year's staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show created such a stink among Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) staffers that RADA has served notice that unless there is a significant improvement of the conditions in their designated work area, the extension arm of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries would not be represented at this year's staging.

In a later dated Tuesday, April 25, RADA formally advised Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda of its concern for the health and safety of the RADA staff.

"The national board has taken the decision to curtail the authority's participation in future shows unless the JAS (Jamaica Agricultural Society) takes urgent steps to address the poor state of the parish pavilions as well as the poor sanitary conditions and the risk that they present to the RADA staff and the general public.

"To this end, representatives of RADA met with a contingent from the JAS and outlined our concerns. The directorship of the JAS [said] that they are not in a position to address the concerns.

"At the last board meeting the matter was again thoroughly ventilated and confirmed our decision that RADA should change its role of being a partner to [being] an exhibitor," the letter said.

Despite this, the board expressed its support for the show, now in its 65th year, given its historic significance to the country's agriculture sector and economy.

"The Denbigh Agricultural Show is the oldest, largest, and most dynamic agricultural show in the English-speaking Caribbean and serves to remind us each of what we achieved in agriculture and its allied sectors. It is for this reason we are reaching out to your office to ensure that all efforts are deployed to guarantee success in staging of Denbigh 2017," RADA said.

christopher.serju@gleanerjmcom