Division among fisher folk in Gouyave still an issue

In the face of mounting challenges associated with the novel global COVI-19 Pandemic, fisherfolk in Grenada’s fishing capital of Gouyave in the parish of St John have taken the time out to remind the nation that outside of those challenges the issues facing fisher folk in Gouyave remain relevant.

Disrespect, lack of transparency and accountability, poor communication and lack of appreciation were listed as some of the challenges faced by fisherfolk who ply their trade in the fishing town of Gouyave, and while

 those concerns are brought to the fore at various forums, there are claims that those tasked with the responsibility of running the affairs of the fishing operation in the area, seem not to be concerned.

Boat owner Desmond “Rampel” Gill, a man who has been in the business of fishing for well over two decades told our news desk via telephone on Wednesday that while the wider population now focuses on the issues surrounding COVID-19, he wants to do his part in ensuring that the issues surrounding fisherfolk remain current in the minds of the people and to be the voice for the silent fisherfolk in the parish to resonate throughout the length and breadth of Grenada in a manner that reflects the effort put in by them.

 Gill noted that after years of wallowing in the dark and allowing decisions that affect the livelihood of the fisherfolk in Gouyave to be made in isolation, it is time for the people that matter most in the fishing business in Gouyave to step forward and be part of the process of managing the affairs of fishing in that parish.

Gill noted that for years, decisions have been made unknownst to board members, information regarding the functioning of the organization are being withheld from members and there is a clear reluctance on the part of those in charge to disseminate relevant information when called upon to do so.

 The upset fisherman told our news desk that while he does not want to go down the road of politics, he has a strong inclination that the behaviour of those in charge is highly politicized given that certain members are finding it difficult to operate within the organization while others are being given special privileges.

 Gill’s position as an executive member of the organization was challenged in the past after he publicly criticized a decision by the organization to have a Marine Protected Area (MPA) erected in an area he referred to as one of the most lucrative areas for seine–fishing in the Gouyave area.

  A decision taken then, to have Gill apologize to the board was refuted. Informer learned that he was subsequently told that his position on the board was no longer valid.

 Gill told our news desk on Wednesday he has no intention of issuing an apology, he maintains his position with regard to how he feels about the MPA and calls on fisherfolk to stand up for what is theirs.  He noted that the time has come when fisherfolk must ensure that those tasked with the responsibility of running the organization deliver on the objective of the organization, which speaks to among other things, development of the organization and benefit for fisherfolk.

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