Tue | Sep 17, 2019

PNP caretaker wants auxiliary fee waiver for families affected by drought

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 11:50 AM
Farmer Richard Gayle of Flagaman, St Elizabeth waters his melon field during a drought in 2014 – File photo.

People’s National Party Caretaker for South West St Elizabeth, Ewan Stephenson, is calling for the Government to waive school auxiliary fees for families in farming communities affected by the ongoing drought.

Further, Stephenson says the Ministry of Agriculture should move to urgently provide help for these farmers.

According to Stephenson, acres of food crops in the ‘bread basket’ parish have perished due to lack of water.

“As a result of the long drought, fires have broken out destroying millions of dollars worth of crops, irrigation equipment and hundreds of acres of farmland,” he says. 

Stephenson says farmers have been left in a state of despair and desperation.

 “They are in serious need of fertiliser, equipment and seeds to restore their farms as soon as the drought breaks,” he added.

The caretaker notes that affected families, who make their living from farming, are hard pressed to meet back-to-school expenses as their earning power was drastically curtailed over the Summer break on account of the drought.

“There are needs to be met – uniforms, books, tuition fees, food and transportation. I am calling for the Government to waive school auxiliary fees, commonly called Parents’ Contribution, for affected families and for the Ministry of Agriculture to provide help for these farmers urgently.”

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