Ber­muda’s agri­cul­ture poised to grow

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Christopher Serju Gleaner Writer

SEVEN MILE BEACH, Grand Cay­man: Drew Pet­tit was very re­laxed in putting to rest spec­u­la­tion about the rea­sons for his mode of dress, es­pe­cially dur­ing the for­mal ses­sions at the Caribbean Week of Agri­cul­ture 2016, held in Grand Cay­man from Oc­to­ber 24-28, where he was rep­re­sent­ing The Ba­hamas as di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Af­ter three days, the one-man del­e­ga­tion for the United King­dom Over­seas Ter­ri­tory was still the sub­ject of much con­ver­sa­tion, a lot of which cen­tred on how well the poor man was cop­ing in light of the fact that the air­line had ob­vi­ously lost some of his lug­gage.

Dressed in jacket and tie, paired with dress shoes and knee-high socks, the Ber­mu­dan’s for­mal out­fit was, to say the least, eye-catch­ing and he was quite happy to talk about it.

“It’s about the big­gest con­tri­bu­tion I’ve made to the con­fer­ence so far. I’ve had more ques­tions about how I’m dressed than what I’m do­ing here,” he told The Gleaner. “I am the most com­fort­able per­son here. One of the ques­tions I was asked was ‘Do the socks have to match the shorts?’ No, you never match your socks and your shorts, but it’s very com­fort­able.”

RE­NEWED POP­U­LAR­ITY

Ex­plain­ing proudly that he was wear­ing the na­tional dress, which had proved very prac­ti­cal for the Bri­tish mil­i­tary, es­pe­cially dur­ing sum­mer, Pet­tit is de­lighted that the once very pop­u­lar cloth­ing item, which had been in de­cline, is now en­joy­ing a resur­gence in pop­u­lar­ity.

“They are com­ing out with a new Ber­muda shorts – new fab­ric, new colours, more vi­brant – and now, that’s pick­ing up,” he dis­closed, lament­ing that younger peo­ple are, how­ever, more in­clined to wear the shorts as ca­sual cloth­ing. “It’s hard to get them into a jacket and a tie,” he said. Drew Pet­tit, quite re­laxed in his at­tire, dur­ing the for­mal ses­sions at the Caribbean Week of Agri­cul­ture 2016 held in Grand Cay­man form Oc­to­ber 24-28, held in Grand Cay­man.

Dress code aside, though, Pet­tit was on a very se­ri­ous mis­sion to es­tab­lish bet­ter link­ages to im­prove the coun­try’s agri­cul­ture, which, on the face of it, poses some chal­lenges.

Pet­tit ex­plained: “Our main fo­cus was to have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what’s in the CARICOM re­gion. We are a part of it. We are an as­so­ciate mem­ber, but we are ge­o­graph­i­cally iso­lated, so we no­ticed a lot of ac­tiv­ity in the Caribbean re­gion and we want to know what’s go­ing on. So it’s more about try­ing to fig­ure out who is work­ing, what the pri­or­i­ties are, what the risks are, and where peo­ple are go­ing in the fu­ture so we can par­tic­i­pate, join in.”

With an es­ti­mated 80-90 per cent food-im­port bill, par­tic­i­pa­tion in Caribbean Week of Agri­cul­ture 2016 pre­sented a host of op­por­tu­ni­ties for Ber­muda to be­gin to ad­dress, in a se­ri­ous way, the is­sue of food

It’s about the big­gest con­tri­bu­tion I’ve made to the con­fer­ence so far. I’ve had more ques­tions about how I’m dressed than what I’m do­ing here.

and nu­tri­tion se­cu­rity. If fact, it pre­sented a plat­form for build­ing on some of their plans al­ready in train.

“Agri­cul­ture is not a pri­mary in­dus­try, but we would like it to be. My (agri­cul­ture) min­is­ter is re­ally in­ter­ested in a resur­gence in agri­cul­ture. We just fin­ished a crop strat­egy – a five-year plan – and we’re work­ing on our dairy strat­egy, our live­stock strate­gies, ev­ery­thing that the Caribbean and this con­fer­ence is talk­ing about, so that’s what we’re do­ing.

“We are do­ing a lot of stuff on our own, so we al­ready have op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate – to be able to say, ‘You’re al­ready do­ing some­thing’. So we are do­ing some­thing ... how can we help and how can you help us? We were in­vited by Cay­man, and we are a UK Over­seas Ter­ri­tory, so a lot of our in­dus­tries are the same, and we have a lot of sim­i­lar prob­lems,” Pet­tit dis­closed.

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