NIA-CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (January 25th 2011) — Several of the ministries within the Nevis Island Administration [NIA] have joined forces to facilitate a number of programmes and host a variety of activities.
The island has most recently benefitted from the collaborative effort of the Ministries of Agriculture and Housing and Land: both headed by Area Representative for the St. Paul’s parish the Honourable E. Robelto Hector.
The first-term NIA official, in his quest to expand the Cherry Garden Housing Development and provide additional housing for Nevisians, relocated farmers who had previously occupied the area for livestock farming.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Kelvin Daly, “the role of Minister Hector was critical in not only cutting through the red tape, but to make resources available in human, capital, land and equipment to help to relocate farmers to new areas.”
“Let me make it abundantly clear, neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation was under any legal obligation to assist farmers to relocate from this area. Both institutions were eager to help because it was the right thing to do,” Dr. Daly said.
The Agriculture official was at the time commenting on the partnership between both ministries and commending the NIA and the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation [NHLDC] for “transforming the expanse of land that was used almost exclusively for animal husbandry into the functional community that it is today.”
The partnership has sought the establishment of the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation/Department of Agriculture [DOA] Fruit Tree Project for Cherry Garden as well as the allocation of more than 25 rolls of fencing wire to farmers, the construction of pens and housing units for farmers, fence hole digging and land clearing. The projects, Dr. Daly said, were carried out by the DOA and funded by the NHLDC.
“We are not sleeping,” the Permanent Secretary said as he spoke of his department’s continued “intervention to assist farmers” which led the DOA to “take possession of 31.5 acres of land.”
The newly acquired land formerly known as modern farms, have been subdivided into 12 areas which “would be used to relocate farmers who were displaced by the Cherry Garden Housing Development Project.”
The farmers, Dr. Daly said “would be given their leases by March this year.”
“When they get their leases nobody could say move from there. This is a serious economic commitment on behalf of our farmers. The land alone is valued at over $7 million with another $3 million being sought to grant funds for infrastructural development,” Dr. Daly explained.
In the presence of NIA officials, residents of Cherry Garden and supporters of the Cherry Garden Housing Development, Dr. Daly presented a congratulatory plaque to Mr. Nicholas Christopher: the winner of the garden competition for the Cherry Garden area.
In addition to the plaque, Mr. Christopher would receive an ultramodern raised bed gardening system that was designed, built and planted by the DOA and funded by the NHLDC.
Minister Hector, in his response, announced that the project under which additional farmers would be relocated would be dubbed “the Low Ground Livestock Development.”
Under that expansion, “the farmers who sacrificed for the Cherry Garden Housing Development would be given larger acreages on the eastern side,” Mr. Hector said as he recorded his gratitude to the farmers as the minister with responsibility for Agriculture.