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Gov’t land deals under scrutiny – Opposition

Published:Wednesday | April 24, 2019 | 12:14 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture Dr Fenton Ferguson has warned that it is “watching closely” how the Holness administration proceeds with the buildout of the proposed Bernard Lodge city on prime agricultural lands in St Catherine, as well as other land-related matters.

Speaking at the official opening of the St Mary Agri-Expo 2019 at Gray’s Inn Sports Complex, Annotto Bay, on Monday, Ferguson said it was important that the Government deal with all land matters in an equitable and fair manner.

According to Ferguson: “I believe that one of the greatest opportunities, even for you in agriculture, is access to land, to capital, in terms of also having marketing opportunities.

“As we look at land across the country, it is important that as Government moves to deal with the land question and access to land, there must be equity, there must be fairness, and there must be transparency.

“Therefore, the Opposition is watching closely what is taking place at Bernard Lodge, we are watching closely at what is taking place in Portland, we are watching closely what is taking place in St Thomas and in St Mary.”

Ferguson said that he would use his Sectoral Debate presentation next month to elaborate on concerns about the future of traditional crops like sugar, coffee and cocoa, as well as farm theft.

In the meantime, Ferguson has called for the involvement of more of Jamaica’s youth in agriculture if the country is serious about achieving food security.

The annual agricultural show was being staged for the 33rd time.