NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (June 23, 2020) — Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture on Nevis, has expressed satisfaction with ongoing work by the Public Works Department (PWD) on the construction of a cold storage facility at the government owned farm at Prospect on the outskirts of Charlestown.
His sentiments followed a recent visit to the construction site by a team from the Ministry of Communications and Works led by Hon. Spencer Brand who heads the ministry.
“We want to thank the Ministry of Communications and Works and more specifically the building team of the Public Works Department for assisting the Ministry of Agriculture in the construction of our refrigeration facility for fruits and vegetables produced on Nevis…
“The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased with the pace and quality of work that is being undertaken by the Public Works Department, the professionalism and diligence must be commended and we once again thank them for their assistance in our time of need. This assistance comes at a significant cost savings to the Nevis Island Administration,” Sargeant said.
Mr. Sargeant explained that the project was approved by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) in early 2020 and began with a private contractor.
“After a week on the job the contractor had to travel overseas and because of COVID-19 he was unable to return. Following the easing of restrictions, we approached the Ministry of Communications and asked for assistance in constructing this facility,” he stated.
The permanent secretary added that the project is an important one for Nevis, and comes at a time when the ministry is actively involved in implementing measures aimed at strengthening the island’s food security.
“Food security is extremely important in these times, and it was an urgent need for the department and ministry to be in a position to store produce once cultivated here on the island. We are in the middle of a programme to improve and increase the production and one of the weaknesses in our system was the inability to store fresh produce.
“Upon completion the facility will house an office, sorting and grading area and six refrigeration units which essentially increases our storage capacity five-fold,” he noted.
Meantime, Minister Brand also recognized the partnership as an important one which is critical to the Ministry of Agriculture’s food security efforts on the island.
“We feel [the project] would enable us to continue on the road of food security here on the island of Nevis. This is very important because out of COVID we recognised that as an island we have to be more self-sufficient in our foods, and this building will ensure that we have greater storage capacity partnering with Agriculture, to ensure that we have greater food security on the island of Nevis,” Minister said.
The minister also used the opportunity to thank the workers at the Building Division in the PWD for their quality craftsmanship, the division’s Supervisor Mr. Alister Thompson and the PWD Director Mr. Raoul Pemberton.