Opinion: Where is the beef?

POSTED: 02/24/15 2:05 AM

Sean Richardson who is a Progressive Labor Party (PLP) candidate in the upcoming Island Council elections has hit out at parts of the local political establishment for what he describes as “creating a closed shop and a coalition of cows when it comes to the mismanagement of the local slaughterhouse.” Of the twenty or so owners of livestock on the island, preference for slaughter is given to supporters of certain parties. Other herd owners have to wait weeks before their cows appear on the butchers’ slab.”

The result is that this expensive government-owned facility that is open once every two weeks is not only losing vast sums of money but also offering lousy service.”

“Statia beef is arguably the best product in the Caribbean if not the Americas,” Richardson explains. “But their plan is to privatize the slaughterhouse into the hands of party members to enrich themselves. This conflict or ‘cowflict’ of interest will leave the island dependent on imported beef from the US that is full of chemicals and does little to improve reliance on local husbandry.”  Richardson also asserts “Last year, training was given to the staff of the abattoir on how to slaughter and cut cuts. The aim was to butcher choice cuts to earn higher prices such as for T-bone steaks as well as improve presentation. Good plan! But no sooner had the famous Dutch trainer returned to The Netherlands, then the old habits quickly returned. T-bone steaks became L-bone steaks as the best parts of the steak were cut out and mixed in with ground beef!”

 “You could not make this up!” says Richardson. “In the eighteenth century and with a population of ten thousand people, the island was self-sufficient. Today, the meat counter that is supposed to open at 8 o’clock never does and the counter shelves are empty. Why? Because they slaughter the day before and the rest of the work is left undone. Instead of opening twice a month, they should be opened twice or three times a week. They should let the meat hang for 48 hours before sale and they should not keep meat and fish in the same counter as they were trained not to do by the Dutch trainer. This is illegal everywhere on the planet except on Statia. Customers may wait one hour to buy ground beef while it is made. This is nonsense.”

While Richardson, now 40, realizes that his cow-pokes are inviting reaction, he remains adamant. “They have produced a glossy program of what they will do when they come to office. Voters should know that they have not explained how they will do any of it. Turkeys in the US do not vote for Thanksgiving and voters on Statia should not vote for turkeys!”

“They want to milk the community of its hard-earned tax payer’s money – most of which will disappear in their own pockets. The cows are now coming home but not to them!”

Sean Richardson (PLP candidate)

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