Opposition MP wants Paul to resign
A call in Parliament today for James Paul to resign as chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS).
Immediately after Paul lambasted the private sector and accused it of seeking to undermine state policy in the poultry industry, Opposition parliamentarian Dwight Sutherland took him to task.
As the House of Assembly debated a resolution to convert the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation’s $41 million overdraft with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank to a loan, the BAS CEO took a turn in the private sector, suggesting that persons in that arena had been acting counter to the Government’s policies for the industry.
His comments come against the backdrop of the BADMC’s recommendation to the Ministry of Commerce that a licence be issued to the operators of the Lucky Horseshoe to import chicken wings, when, according to Paul, the meat could be supplied locally.
The BAS head also issued a tongue lashing to the corporation and other Government agencies. He said all Government organs must operate in a sychronised manner, when it came to agriculture.
However, Paul said certain state agencies seemed to pander to the private sector.
Paul, who is a Government MP, further argued that there were some people in the private sector who, instead of recognizing their corporate responsibility, overlooked it.
“If they have to engage in action that undermines . . . [they] would do it,” he declared.
“We [Government] should not encourage the private sector who engage in actions that undermine Government policy.”
He said while Government was taking the lead in developing the economy, all stakeholders and partners must be involved.
“A lot of the responsibility is placed on Government to ensure correct economic polices are put in place. But in the absence of support from the private sector . . . if the private sector does not play its part, a lot of Government policies would go to [nought].
“We have to make a determined attempt to speak to those persons.”
He suggested that radical decisions be made regarding the organisation of state agencies,which deal with agriculture.
“We cannot have persons in these organisations which are not supportive of Government. We need to see a more responsible attitude on the part of agencies of Government related to the agricultural sector,” asserted Paul.
However, when Opposition MP for St George South, Dwight Sutherland rose to make his contribution to the debate immediately afterwards, he chastised Paul for blaming the private sector.
In fact, Sutherland told Paul he should resign as BAS chief executive officer because he had failed “miserably” as CEO.
The St George South parliamentary representative told the Chamber that Paul should not be spending time discussing “a case of “ chicken wings, which were the most unhealthy part of the bird anyhow, when the poultry industry had recorded a 32 per cent decline.
He said while he did not support the importation of chicken, he could understand why the product had to be brought in.
Sutherland stated that under Paul’s stewardship, small farmers production costs had risen and he had done nothing to help them. The Opposition member suggested that the Government MP should empower the private sector and stop criticising them. He insisted that Paul and the Ministry of Agriculture needed to put measures in place to reduce the more than $600 million food import bill.
The debated resolution was passed without objection from the Opposition.