Happy New Year to you and yours. Though I wish the same for our farmers and market vendors, there is little doubt that the conditions under which they operate while providing their valuable contribution to this country will improve in the slightest. Of note, the fruit and vegetable vendors who vend in the area at the back and outside the Castries Market which is adjacent to the Marketing Board.
The conditions in that area are deplorable and disintegrating daily. The ground on which vendors’ umbrellas and stalls are placed is uneven and porous. Large potholes dominate the area and on rainy days these become filled with muddy water. Buyers risk twisted ankles and mud-splattered feet and clothing in order to get just a cursory look at what’s on offer for sale.
To say the least, those conditions are deplorable and even more so when we recognize the fact that the people who are treated so shoddily are the ones providing our food, the sustenance of our country. (I am fully aware of being repetitious.) Shame on us.Shame on us.
Shame on us also that besides rejoicing in the fact that so many cruise ships are making St. Lucia a priority stop, we fail to realize or accept that one of the first important stops on the island is no other than the Castries Market. This is where visitors come in contact with our people, our craft, our food and some of our customs.
In the small passageway where food is sold from a variety of small booths, it is commonplace and gratifying to see visitors crowded shoulder to shoulder happily enjoying our appetizing and succulent local fare. No doubt this activity is frowned upon by our tourism officials as I have no record of them ever promoting the Castries Market. They obviously appear to recognize and accept the fallacy that only and solely the established hotels have a monopoly on hospitality.
When an announcement is made and a listing in recognition of the most important persons who have made the most valuable contributions to our nation, you can bet all your most valuable possessions, (and I am sincerely hoping that I am wrong) there will not be one farmer anywhere on that list.
I couldn’t resist providing the following quote by Daniel Webster “Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.”
Champion For Change