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Columns : Who is in control? - Joseph Darville Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Farming...critical and crucial
By Joseph Darville
May 24, 2007 - 2:13:47 PM

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Certainly every Bahamian farmer who is serious about creating an abundance from the Mother Earth, anticipates with bated breathe the practical and theoretical knowledge the new Minister of Agriculture brings to this potentially fertile field, so very long neglected and sadly underutilized.  


The Honorable Lawrence Cartwright has deep within his soul a keen sense of the unlimited possibilities, appreciation and gratitude for what we can attain from our land.   This resource, so richly and unconditionally bestowed upon us by the Creator, has all the essential ingredients to garner from it whatever is necessary for us to survive and flourish.


It is indeed sad that so many of our citizens were ‘driven’ from the beauty and blessings of the land.   The result has been   an aversion by our people, especially the young,   to this type of work.   Consequently, many view this occupation as a menial task.   This is indeed a tragedy, for this mentality rejects the very physical essence of our existence as human beings.   How can we so disdain it as being unworthy of our attention?   As this unfortunate attitude had been systematically ingrained into the mindset of our people, it can similarly be decoded.   We remember when and how it began and, therefore, knowledgeable in how to obliterate it once again.   We will certainly perish unless we return to the bosom of Mother Earth and be sustained by her fruits of land, sea and air.


In recent times, we have had some powerful lessons in relying almost solely upon what I term parasitic economies, such as tourism, off-shore banking, drug trafficking, gun running, as well as human trafficking.   The artificiality of tourism, for example, has caused us to literally abandon our natural and abundant resources of land and sea.   The political directorate of our small country has over the past twenty years or longer lost sight of the unlimited treasure of our only ‘solid’ heritage.   Consequently, when nature resorts to her regulated periods of cleansing in a very dramatic fashion, we can so quickly and easily lose the fragile economic base of tourism, as is still being so painfully felt in our nation, especially on Grand Bahama.

I wonder, however, if we ever reflect sufficiently upon these challenges sent our way and use them as moments for transformation.   When thousands of individuals lost their livelihood, as a result of recent hurricanes, many had   absolutely no substitute means to sustain their families.   Such a state of affairs is totally unacceptable in a land so pregnant with land and sea resources.   There is sufficient land on all our major islands to occupy thousands of individuals, young and old, in producing food practically all year round for our own consumption as well as for export.


Yet, even those farmers, who try so desperately to eek out a living from the land are struggling from day to day, for the simple reason that we have just paid only lip service to the this aspect of our economic life in the Bahamas. They so often cry and beg for help which hardly ever comes.   I now have a deep conviction that this Honorable Minister will not only hear their cries, but will heed their pleas. He will give them, I pray, the honor they deserve with commensurate allocation of resources for full and opulent development of this inexhaustible reservoir of creation.


Personally, I have advocated, and so advised every administration, that each young person, upon leaving school or even while still in school, be allocated a least one acre of land on which to learn how to grow crops. Collectively, there should be thousands of acres set aside for cooperative efforts by young entrepreneurs to produce from the land the abundance that is possible.


A native boy of Long Island, like the Minister, I have an insatiable passion for farming.   Therefore, from a very small section in my yard, I harvest enough mangos, tomatoes, pumpkins, okras, watermelons, etc., etc. to feed my family and our friends and neighbours.   And what a joy this is!   Who cannot, with a little reverse ‘brainwashing,’ not come to enjoy such a wonderful experience of Mother Nature’s gracious giving, with so small an effort on our part?  


Give a group of experienced farmers an enthusiastic thousand    Bahamian youths, with the necessary resources with which to work, and they will shock the country with what can be produced.   What a wonderful way, as well, to ennoble and enable our young, taking them off the streets and giving them ownership of their heritage.


This is certainly one very natural and meaningful way to save our young.   In fact, if we do not bring them back to honor the soil, they will   destroy it, themselves and the rest of us in the process.

We are stewards of this noble inheritance and unless we grace her with loving and grateful attention, we shall lose her. I look to the Minister, with all our help, to bring an enlightened and dynamic approach to the abundant utilization of our natural resources of land and sea,   with the accompanying dignity and honor befitting Mother Earth.

About the Author:  

Mr. Joseph Darville is a native of Long Island, Bahamas and a resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama.  

·           Teacher [English, French] at St. Augustine’s College in Nassau.  

·           Teacher [French] Senior School Coordinator and Guidance Counselor a Queen’s College in Nassau.     

·           Past Vice-President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers  

·           He is a founding member and past President of the Bahamas Counselor’s   Association  

·           Past President of the Grand Bahama Mental Health Association  

·           Past Vice President of the Caribbean Federation of Mental Health  

·           Founding member and Chairman of Operation Hope, [volunteer drug prevention, education & rehabilitation program]  

·           Co-Chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council  

·           Founding member and Past -President of Grand Bahama Human Rights Association  

·           Founding member of the Caribbean Human Rights Network  

·           Administrative Vice-President of the Freeport YMCA for three years  

He is an Advanced Master/Teacher in Reiki training, a natural energy healing method, as well as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation.   Presently, he is Director of Workforce Development at the Grand Bahama Shipyard. He has received many awards for outstanding service and achievement in teaching, communication,  and citizenship.  

Joseph can be reached at jdarville2002@yahoo.com

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