Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) made the announcement during the Sixth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola, on March 10, 2021.
He said the Bill was prepared and "approved by Cabinet" to undergo final drafting by the Attorney General’s chambers and once the final draft is complete it will be taken to Cabinet for final approval before it is laid in the House of Assembly.”
“I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with this Bill and weigh in as much as possible,” Dr Wheatley said.
He explained that the authority would be responsible for the re-establishment of what was once the BVI Fishing complex.
“Mr Speaker, you have heard me speak about our intention to establish a statutory body to focus solely on the business and regulations of the agriculture and fishing industries. To this end, we spent most of 2020 in consultation with various groups concerning the establishment of this body,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the BVI Fishing Complex will be repurposed to include agricultural products and other value-added goods from local farmers and fishers.
“Fisheries is a priority in the territory’s blue economy, and we recognise the importance of this sector’s sustainability. We are excited about this vision and see this as a necessary step to support our fishing and farming community and other industries connected to these sectors, such as tourism,” Dr Wheatley added.
Back in March 2020, Dr Wheatley had said his ministry was actively considering multiple locations across the territory to build a modern agriculture and fisheries complex. This was after the land that accommodated the hurricane-damaged BVI Fishing Complex was transferred to the BVI Ports Authority to expand its main cargo handling and passenger terminal.
“We now envision an agriculture and fisheries complex that will be equipped to inspect, grade, process and market both agricultural and fish products and which will also serve as a cultural and tourism facility to maximise its marketing capacity and exposure for local fishers and farmers,” Dr Wheatley had stated.
I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.