Agri-Christmas Night Market Reflects How the Future Will Look, Says Hon Duggins

Minister the Hon Samal Duggins (2nd right) and PS Mr Miguel Flemming seen with Small Business operators out of Old Road, SKNWELL, Mrs Ordyette Woodley (right) and Ms Naomi Woodley.
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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 23, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — Hundreds turned out to patronise the final edition of this year’s now popular night markets, the Agri-Christmas Night Market held at the Basseterre Public Market on Thursday December 22, and an elated Federal Minister, the Hon Samal Duggins, has said that its overwhelming success points out to the successful future this country is headed.

“Tonight we see a wonderful display of what our people can do in agriculture, but not just agriculture – in terms of craft, and the development of agro-processing, and we are getting a glimpse tonight of what the future will look like for agriculture and small business and processing in our country,” said the Hon Duggins who is the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Sports and the Creative Economy.

Over 80 small scale business people in agriculture, agro-processors, and a wide range of small business entrepreneurs from both St. Kitts and Nevis had set up at the Basseterre Public, where some large operators occupied as many as three market stands depending on the amount of goods on display, and were heavily patronised by locals who are now showing an appetite for products that are locally made, especially coming at Christmas time.

“When you look at the turnout, we have a huge turnout,” remarked the Honourable Minister. “The place is packed almost to capacity and that is indicative of the new interest and the new zest that has been put in agriculture, and as the new minister I am happy to see that because this is what we have committed to, and for 2023.”

Hon Duggins, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Ermelin Sebastian-Duggins, was joined by Permanent Secretaries Mr Miguel Flemming (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives), and Ms Delrine Taylor (Small Business and Entrepreneurship), said that his ministries plan to do a number of such events in the coming year.

Visiting the Agri-Christmas Night Market included the Governor General’s Deputy Her Excellency Marcella Liburd, who is also a former Area Parliamentary Representative (St. Christopher Two – Central Basseterre), the Minister of Tourism et al and the current Area Parliamentary Representative, the Hon Marsha Henderson, and two former Speakers of the National Assembly, the Hon Walford Gumbs, and the Hon Curtis Martin, among others.

“In terms of satisfaction I would say that it is a wonderful display, but we are committed to growth and development,” said Minister Duggins in conclusion. “So in 2023 we hope that we see that go even further and further. Right now it is a wonderful display, yes, but I believe that we can go to new heights in 2023 and beyond.”

Representing the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives; Small Business and Entrepreneurship included Agriculture Development Advisor, Dr Tracey Challenger-Walters; Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses Development Centre, Mr Phillip Browne; Director of Marine Resources Dr Marc Williams; Acting Director of Agriculture Ms Jeanelle Kelly; and Senior Business Advisor at the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), Mr Delwayne Delaney.

In the meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives, Mr Miguel Flemming, while thanking the many business people who took part, and the many patrons who he noted appeared satisfied from the way they conducted themselves, advised that there will be a number night markets in 2023, with the possibility of holding the first one as early as January.

The collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives, and the Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in holding the Agri-Christmas Night Market and the previous night market was hailed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Ms Delrine Taylor.

“We are here for the second night market that Agriculture has put on and we have collaborated with them,” said Ms Taylor. “The Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship has collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture to get some of our agro-processors and other small businesses to be a part of this experience.”

Also pleased by the high turnout, the Permanent Secretary attributed it to the fact that many people were out doing their Christmas shopping, and they were not let down by the many small businesses operators that had come out to ensure that people got what they needed to make it a pleasant Christmas shopping experience. She promised more collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture et al in 2023.

Crops Programme Leader in the Department of Agriculture, Mr Ian Chapman, who was the main organiser of the event, thanked the Manager of the Basseterre Public Market Mr Alphonse Clarke, and the Market Keeper Mr Andre Flaherty, and their staff for ensuring that that everything ran like clockwork for the duration of the event that went past 10:00 p.m. and for keeping the market very clean.

Entertainment was provided by Upset Squad, Rucas H.E. and other local acts, while members of the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA) performed a number of popular Christmas carols to the delight of the large audience that momentarily almost stood still to sing along with the youthful members of the SKNYPA.

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