Agriculture Week, which has not been celebrated in the Virgin Islands since 2015, will return to the territory soon, according to Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

In response to questions from Third District Representative Julian Fraser at last Thursday’s House of Assembly meeting, Dr. Wheatley said two new appointments — Theodore James, the Agriculture Department director; and Tessa Smith, assistant secretary with responsibility for agriculture and fisheries — would “resurrect” the tradition “just like Jesus resurrected Lazarus” as part of their ongoing efforts to revitalise the sector.

He was less definitive, however, on plans to bring back Fishermen’s Day.

In response to questions from Mr. Fraser, he explained that the celebration had been organised by the fishing community itself rather than the Conservation and Fisheries Department, and he said that if it were to return it would have to be coordinated by them rather than by government initiative.

He added that while the tradition had not been celebrated since 2016, the 2017 hurricanes put the celebration on hold indefinitely since many of the territory’s fishers lost their vessels and fishing gear and many of the businesses that funded the event are still recovering.

He said he would be able to give a date after discussions with farmers and fishers, but hoped both celebrations would return no later than 2021.


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