Roy accuses PACT of about-face on FARM and bus

| 03/06/2021 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Service
Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart

(CNS): Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart has taken aim at the PACT Government for a sudden change of mind, closing down the farmers relief programme without giving a reason, as well as putting the brakes on the free George Town shuttle bus, stating that both initiatives had been helping thousands of Caymanians. In a press statement issued Wednesday, McTaggart said that Agriculture Minister Jay Ebanks had flip-flopped over the Farmers Assistance and Relief Measures (FARM) started by the Unity government.

He said that Ebanks had initially announced that he was backing the support for around 1,200 farmers, but a week later did an “about-face when he announced… that the FARM programme would not be continuing” beyond June.

“In other words, those encouraged to take up farming because of the programme will no longer be supported. That is indeed disappointing especially as no reason was given for the sudden change,” McTaggart said and accused PACT of reversing years of support for local farmers. “We understood that Caymanians growing more of what we eat has been supported by every government for decades and is part of our tradition and culture. This PACT government perhaps takes a different view.”

McTaggart said it that it wasn’t clear what had made Ebanks change his mind, but that it was the second programme his ministry had cancelled recently that was assisting Caymanians. The government had also stopped the George Town shuttle bus service, which the opposition leader said was being used by over 1,000 people each week and “I’m sure would have grown further had the programme been allowed to continue as originally intended”.

However, the press release from the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing, and Infrastructure (PAHI) about the shuttle bus stated that this was a pilot project introduced by the previous government that was already scheduled to end on 28 May, having been extended to allow the ministry to gather more data.

Premier Wayne Panton had also stated that the pilot was a useful tool to test solutions before “making significant investments and implementing at a broader scale”, as PACT is expected to place Cayman’s transport woes at the centre of its policies, given the commitments made by all the members on the campaign trail.

Nevertheless, as the country waits to see how PACT intends to address the many environment and sustainability problems resulting from a lack of policy decisions by past administrations, McTaggart urged people to watch what the new government does.

“The opposition will carefully watch to see what other programmes benefiting our people that the PACT will shut down. I do hope the Caymanian people are also paying attention,” he stated.

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Category: Politics

Comments (61)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The farming subsidy was a joke. A token gesture. What we need is substantial investment in farming here. Years ago I identified infrastructure and came up with a responsible investment programme government could run to boost farming, food security and sustainability here, getting local produce on our supermarket shelves at reasonable prices. But getting a seat at a table to even put forward sensible suggestions on farming or any other matter, seem impossible here unless you are “connected”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Poor Roy, I hate to see him continue down this hole with Alden. Hope he sees soon what they are all about but I fear that grasp for power and money has already gotten to him. I really was expecting better from him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea, Roy is a sight for sore eyes. Bad company corrupts good manners. That surely has been the case for Roy. I have no doubt that Roy intended to do some good for the Caymanian people, but Alden and the PPM have corrupted Roy beyond return. Only God can save him now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Irrelevant, Roy McTaggart is scrapingbottom trying to find something and using the same old tactics the PPM are known for “buying support and votes.”

    These programs were not done with good intentions but moreso to make people believe that if they kept the PPM they could keep them on the dole..

    Roy, this doesn’t work anymore. People don’t want to be bought and paid for by the PPM anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most recognised definitions of Stipend include “..fixed sum of money paid…”

      The FARM programme is certainly not that

      The FARM programme is $400 worth of agricultural supplies monthly (if any available) from a single supplier (DOA)

      In many ways, much like the incentives given to developers to destroy your natural environment

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for supporting local farming by buying local produce. But when I’m asked to pay almost $3 more per pound for local scallion over imported scallion (as one example), I find it difficult to support the local product. Sorry, local scallion farmer, I fear you won’t sell much at those prices.

    What Minister Jay should push is for concessions for local farmers on their work permits, farming equipment & supplies, etc., so that they can sell their products more competitively. Over-pricing local products killed beef farming, milk farms and a chicken farm in the 1970’s when there was limited population for consumption. With competitive prices for local products and a much larger consumption market now, fresher & possibly more organic local products should be able to outsell imports.

    Like everything else in Cayman, greed is a factor and some “farmers” try to maximize on their prices.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about the about face on opening the boarder??!! We are at 70% – the former goal!! Now we find out it wasn’t actually the goal and they don’t yet know what that is. Thanks for nothing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who supported unlimited permits and PR to whomever can pay cares NOTHING about Caymanians.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is very surprising, considering how many PACT supporters engage in a little “backyard” farming. Not to mention how many suddenly remembered that they were somehow previously employed in some sort of “tourism” work that would entitle them to sign-up for the stipend.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Chris Saunders told the people that one “does not have to have experienced to do this job you just need to care for people”

    Unna see what the first line of business for Jay Ebanks was ? A customized ring ! Lol he has absolutley no clue what he is doing. A real damn joke. Northside replaced an educated,experienced Statesman who with no doubt had Caymanians as priority with XXXX

  9. Anonymous says:

    ppm must do better in opposition….they have an open goal right now….

    • Anonymous says:

      There goal seems to be petty and childish behaviour. And a “well done” to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      The PPM is has no relevance anymore. Roy is the acting mouth piece, Alden is pulling Bush on his farm, Moses is back in his supermarket, Jon Jon needs to find a job to finish paying his outstanding pensions, Barbara hasn’t been into Windsor Park since she got elected and David has been off island supporting one of his friends in ill health.

      These guys are on easy street. $10K a month and maybe two or three of them will show up for each meeting of Parliament and Alden and Roy Tatum will write a speech to give Roy to read every so often..Simply irrelevant and waste of space and money..

  10. Geoffry Ebanks says:

    This FARM program was and is a great idea,long overdue but well appreciated by us true farmers. However,the implementation and abuse of this program/initiative was totally WRONG!!!! I for one personally appreciated the stance this HONORABLE Minister has taken on continuing but reviewing and or revamping this program to assist the farmers of this beautiful country to help feed our people. Thank you Hon. Johany (Jay) Ebanks and keep up the good work and keep shaking them trees.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a true farmer and that’s who should be helped. Sadly, too many other fools that don’t do a lick of farming tried to take advantage of this program. Always end up with things getting ruined by a few bad apples,

  11. Anonymous says:

    Where is your buddy Alden at Roy? We can not find him anywhere in Red Bay. Maybe he is up on his farm!

  12. Anonymous says:

    That is one nefarious and expensive practice we need to stop; if something built, created or instituted by a previous administration is of benefit to the people leave it alone, unless you have a better option to offer.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s going to be a long four years of political bashing but a least we don’t have to worry about having a PORT rammed down our throats Roy!

  14. Anonymous says:

    There never was 1200 caymanian farmers. 50% became farmers over night when they heard about free money from government, have bought out all the supplies we bonafide farmers need just to use up the monthly allowance. Let’s not start about those who are re selling the promix and peat moss at huge profits. ( and we the farmers cant get any, the ag department cant get any supplies overseas for that matter due to limited supply).

    If Roy read the statement correctly it said those who where registered farmers before December 2020 would still get assistance.

    • Geoffry Ebanks says:

      This FARM program was and is a great idea,long overdue but well appreciated by us true farmers. However,the implementation and abuse of this program/initiative was totally WRONG!!!! I for one personally appreciated the stance this HONORABLE Minister has taken on continuing but reviewing and or revamping this program to assist the farmers of this beautiful country to help feed our people. Thank you Hon. Johany (Jay) Ebanks and keep up the good work and keep shaking them trees.

    • Anonymous says:


      The people there now are NOT farmers and buying anything they can get their hands on becuase it is FREEEEEEEEEEEE.

      Wish they would provide the start same program at Tortgua!

  15. Anonymous says:

    While the farmer initiative required some scrutiny- it need not be abandoned. The current minister of agriculture has zero clue about farming or anything else thereto related. So he takes the easy way out and just pulls the stipend. This government is a farce and will last a maximum of 12 months IF THAT LONG. It has now been 43 days since they were sworn in as Ministers and we have heard zilch, dilly squat from them as to what their plans are for the country. And the reason for this is simple, with 10 indecent thinkers and all chiefs and no Indians, there is no plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      With apologies should have read independent thinkers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you should have read the release made by the Minister/Ministry before making such a idiotic statement. This current Hon. Minister is doing what should have been done from the start of this program.

  16. Eagereyes says:

    The PACT Government might have very good reasons to abolish both these initiatives, but they should be Transparent with reasons for bushing two very important pilot projects. Perhaps the Government is noW just PAC.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Am I missing something or did that bus only drive in a circle around GT? If it went all over the island that I would see a use. As for farmers, I think it’s time to end that. I’d also end the taxi one too because all they need to make money again is lower fares. Government should reduce the fares by 50% and they’d having people using them again. Just to remind you, it costs $47 to go from red bay to bacaro. That’s insane.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Farm program was a joke anyway. Bus seemed like it was a good plan though!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yes we are watching very closely, but most of this is coming from bad minded people who don’t mean caymanian no good

  20. Anonymous says:

    Don’t waste your hot air Roy, put it to good use instead!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Panton ACTing like he knows what he is doing. I ask again … where is the PACT manifesto? Plans? Policies?

    I will wait ….

  22. Anonymous says:

    Legalize cannabis! We’ll save money cause the police won’t have to chase the canoes coming over from Jam, that might stem the flow of guns coming in. Erase the convictions of Caymanians in jail of cannabis charges, deport everyone else that is on the same chargers, we’ll save money from have to keep these people locked up and lastly we can grow some homegrown herbs and not worry about the chemicals that are being used…….
    Time for some forward thinking!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Lol. It’s just PAC now Roy.

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