St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The Director of Agriculture, Gregory Bailey, responded to a report made by livestock farmer John Cox who raises cows in the Cades Bay Area, according to the update by Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs shared last week.
According to the sources, it is suspected that the Well was contaminated by dirty oil. A team with representation by the Director of Agriculture, APUA, and the Agricultural Extension Division was quickly assembled, and a site visit was conducted.
The farmer stated that approximately three days ago, he retrieved clean water from said Well to provide his animals with drinking water. He returned to the Well a day later, only to discover that someone had tainted the water.
As per the update, Cox and other farmers in the area typically use the Well, particularly when surrounding ponds are low. This specific Well is accessible to everyone, whether it’s for household uses or livestock and crop farming, as it was reported that the Well is never dry.
Reports were made to the Johnsons Point police station, and a follow-up will be done with the law authorities. Additionally, the Environment Department will be brought on board to conduct further evaluation.
The Ministry also informed that Bailey stated that there are a few other Wells located in the same area vicinity, and he is extremely concerned that there might be the potential for cross-contamination of surrounding Wells and, by extension, the ecosystem. Physical evidence on site suggests that this was done deliberately. The Director is therefore appealing for the full enforcement of the law once perpetrators are caught.
He also expresses how disheartened he is that someone would perform such a malicious act, especially given the fact that Antigua is a water-scarce country. He is also concerned with the effect this will have on the farmers whose main water source during the dry season was this specific Well.