THA Secretary of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development Nathisha Charles-Pantin is calling on Tobagonians to stop “crying down” each other.
She made the statement on Tuesday at a consultation for farmers and agro-processors at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, hosted by the Tobago Agribusiness Development Company (TADCO).
Charles-Pantin said she is passionate about agriculture not just as secretary of the division but as someone concerned about the advancement of Tobago, noting the farmers and agro-processors have much to offer to the development of the island.
She referred to TADCO’s recent exposition in Scarborough, which, she said, showcased a variety of products made on the island.
“Tobago has much to offer the world,” said Charles-Pantin.
But she lamented that Tobagonians often speak disparagingly about each another.
“I have been experiencing this over the years.”
Charles-Pantin said whenever she travels overseas, she always listens to two things: what people say about Tobagonians and what the citizens in the countries say about their compatriots.
“What I have noticed is that whenever I leave here to go there, people appreciate their own culture and the accomplishments of their people.”
Charles-Pantin added, “I would like the same to happen in Tobago. Too often, we cry down ourselves and each other. And, to me, it is not working well in selling Tobago to the rest of the world.
“So we have to be mindful of the things that we hear and mindful of the things that we say about us, ourselves, and the people around us.”
Charles-Pantin said whenever she attends a meeting with people working in agriculture or stakeholders in any other sector, she always refers to the Tobagonian contributing to the discussion as an "expert – because I understand that we have to market our peoples."
She alluded to an earlier address by the division’s administrator, Wendell Bernard, who urged farmers and agro-processors to think positively about the sector and find solutions to the problems confronting Tobago.
Charles-Pantin said, “If we don’t start thinking positively, we are not going to fit in, because it is not just the 14 or 17 of us (members of the THA). It is all of us. We have to fix this.
“So when our children speak, when we speak, we have to speak positively about each other and the contributions that we are making here and across the world.”
She said she is tired of hearing that all Tobagonians are lazy.
“I don’t believe that, because my parents and my foreparents, they have worked hard for me to be able to stand up here and speak to you. So I want for us here to change our mindset.”
Charles-Pantin urged farmers and agro-processors to understand the challenges confronting the sector and embrace the science in moving forward.
She said based on the feedback from stakeholders, the division will be in a better position to improve all of the areas in agriculture.