FORMER Minister of Agriculture Minister, Moses ‘Musa’ Jn Baptiste has called on the government to take steps to deal with the sargassum seaweed problem that is affecting fishers in Saint Lucia.
Jn Baptiste, who also had responsibility for fisheries, said the situation is unfortunate.
“This is an emergency and the government should move in to do something,” he stated.
“I know that there was some basic relief at Micoud, but if you look at what is happening there and even at Savannes Bay and Palmiste, the fishers are having a really difficult time,” Jn Baptiste observed.
He said the problem is costing fishers, many of whom are not going out to sea.
The former minister observed that boats are becoming stuck in the buildup of seaweed.
The former minister recalled that in 2014, when he had responsibility for fisheries, Saint Lucia encountered major problems with the seaweed.
“The fishers were complaining and rightly so. I recall being under a lot of pressure, especially from Minister Gale Rigobert, the member of parliament for Micoud North and now Minister for Education,” Jn Baptiste told reporters.
He noted that various strategies were employed with the Micoud North Council at the time working with the then Ministry of Social Transformation to address the problem.
Jn Baptiste recalled that funds were provided to pay for clearing away the seaweed.
“It is a natural phenomenon but I believe there are things the government can do to reduce the impact,” he said.
The former minister called on the MP for Micoud North to work with the Minister who has responsibility for fisheries to do something to bring relief to fishers.
“She is in government now,” he stated.