Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, today began a tour of areas that were severely affected by the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew.

The first stop on the tour, which included visits to communities in the South, was Bexon.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by  Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph and other officials, said he is most concerned about  agriculture areas now because a lot of hard work went into raising crops.

chastanet-et-al-3“To see those crops destroyed at this stage must be very disheartening,” Chastanet said.

He stated that he wanted to encourage farmers that the government will have a plan to institute very quickly to get them back on their feet.

chastanet-et-al-2“We do have a market in the UK; we do have a market that we hope we can develop in the French market – but at the same time I spoke with the President of the CDB today and I spoke with some other donor agencies, we must be able to build a more resilient agriculture sector,” the Prime Minister asserted.

As to a  total damage assessment after Tropical Storm Matthew, Chastanet explained that it would take time since there were some “hidden” costs such as pipes that were damaged.

He said the assessment in the agriculture sector indicates an eighty-five percent impact on the banana sector.

Chastanet, who met and spoke with residents in the areas that he visited, lamented that fallen trees would have to be thrown away because an alternative use has not been found for them nor  has an industry been created to produce banana by products.

chastanet-on-tour“When I was in France I saw that they were doing paper, they were doing – like formica made of banana wood,” he recalled, adding that with the creation of a banana by product initiative, the fallen banana plants could be used to bring revenue to the  affected farmers.