PNP's Wright pledges to protect Bernard Lodge lands, farmers

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PNP's Wright pledges to protect Bernard Lodge lands, farmers

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica –People's National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister of Agriculture Victor Wright has declared that the nation's Class A soil, which is best suited for farming and lands with irrigation infrastructure will never be used for housing or any other purpose outside of agriculture when the PNP forms the next government.

Wright, in a PNP statement today, said that he would use all available forum, including Parliament, consultation with stakeholders, and even the courts, to ensure that “the nation's agricultural sector and its workers are not disadvantaged by reckless government policy and bad decisions'.

The PNP shadow minister, who is an agronomist and soil scientist and Member of Parliament for North Trelawny argued that the vast agricultural space at Bernard Lodge in St Catherine, is Class A soil and must be designated for food production.

The Bernard Lodge lands are at the centre of a row between farmers and the government, who plan to construct houses on large sections of the property.

Wright, who met with farmers during a tour of Bernard Lodge lands yesterday (October 29) said that the PNP is committed to providing affordable housing but the party is also committed to the environment, and will always approach development with Jamaica's best interest in mind.

“We are committed to the environment, we are committed to the aquifers being recharged and we are committed to fighting against those things that run counter to agricultural interests in the development of this proposed new city,” Wright said.

The shadow minister questioned government's motive to further expand Portmore in this way, saying that there is need for green spaces and farming to help the ecosystems in the area.

“The government needs to show some understanding of what it takes to put together a proper Farming Policy for a country that depends on agriculture to drive rural development and guide our economy to real growth,” he said.

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