Officials of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) today received the first three of 10 mobile lunchroom and sanitary facilities, which will be used by their farm workers.
And, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, said he was pleased the workers in this sector now had these necessary facilities, as he disclosed that two mobile facilities would be assigned to each farm.
He made the comments during a handover ceremony at BAMC, Warrens, St. Michael, which was also addressed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
Mr. Weir continued: “I am one of those Ministers who strongly believe that if we don’t get our micro fundamentals right, there is no way we can address our macro responsibilities….
“I consider this to be one of the things that we had to get right before we could even do anything else on the farm, because without proper facilities for our farm workers, we essentially are exploiting them to the days of slavery, where you only work but nobody cared about your well-being; nobody cared about your health and safety, and as far as they were concerned, you were only a tool for the generation of revenue. That mindset had to be changed.”
The Minister pointed out that this initiative came about when, as Opposition Leader, Prime Minister Mottley met with some farm workers, particularly female workers, who expressed a desire to have such facilities, since there were none available for them to answer the call of nature.
Employee at Mount Pleasant Farm, Kathy-Ann Pinder, outlined what obtains without the facilities, as she emphasised her gratitude for them. She said the facilities would provide “comfort, privacy and safety for all staff”, and would be a great asset.
Ms. Pinder stressed the importance of the sector, stating: “For years, agriculture has been the backbone of our country in providing healthy foods that help in the prevention of chronic illnesses…. Even though we worked in some comfortable and uncomfortable conditions, we still met the requirements to provide Barbados with healthy food choices.”
The farms these three units will be assigned to are Redland, St. John; Rock Hall, St. Peter, and Mount Pleasant, St. Philip.