Sun | Feb 16, 2020

St Thomas sugar cane farmers demand answers

Published:Friday | January 17, 2020 | 12:51 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer

With the looming cane crop in full view, farmers in St Thomas who once supplied the commodity to the Golden Grove Sugar Company, which was shuttered in July 2019, gathered at the entrance of the old factory on Tuesday to bemoan what they described as a lack of direction from the necessary authorities where the future of their product is concerned.

In addition to not being fully briefed on the way forward, the farmers told The Gleaner that they were yet to receive any form of compensation had been agreed by the Government.

The farmers said that they were given the option to have their cane moved to another facility in St Catherine for two years after the closure of the factory in Golden Grove. However, they revealed that they dismissed the idea as not feasible and requested that they be paid off by the Government instead.

But according to the farmers, they are yet to be addressed on the matter.

“From them come and tell we that the Government going to pay to move the cane, nobody nuh come back to we come address we. Everybody a wonder. We in a January now. Dem time here me would a file me machete to go cut cane in the next two weeks or so, but we nuh know weh we going. Everybody here a wonder. They just have us in circles. We need to know where we going.

“And from pickney not going to school and shop naw sell or trust, you know seh something bad starting already, so we need somebody in the business to come talk to we up here in eastern St Thomas,” said cane farmer Donovan Taylor.

The farmers lamented the poor state in which they have been living since their only source of survival was taken from them last year.

According to one man who shared that he had been working as a farmer for over 30 years: “Right now the factory standing like a palm tree in the community. It just there and not producing anything. Our one feeding basket … just gone suh.”