The 20 April edition of the Observer carried an article by Dianne Collins concerning the growing monkey problem in Nevis.
In this piece, she correctly points out that the Nevis monkey problem is out of control: actually the population increase and behavior agressiveness has been building for many years.
My home is located in Bath Plain, and I keep horses as well as try to grow vegetables and cultivate fruit trees. So far, the monkeys have enjoyed tomatoes, peppers, okra, and whatever fruit begins to mature. At least they have not used me for target practice when they throw the almonds.
They also run acress my house roof nearly every morning, have broken gutters and created other problems with the roof.
The vervet monkeys have a gestation period of about 7 to 7 ½ months, and we now have a new born crop of them. What our population will be, I cannot estimate over the 20 or 30 we see regularly but the noise in the morning when they chatter has increased considerably.
Personally, I have given up on the Agriculture Department taking any initiative to solve this problem. The individual I spoke with who visited said I should build a trap of 12 x 10 feet and put it out. Once the trap had monkeys, they would collect them.
I feel sorry for farmers and others, particularly in Rawlins, who have to deal with this.new problem forty years after the Christina disaster.Many cannot handle the problem and have given up on farming. I believe it is is a government problem, not an individual one about which nothing creative is being done.
Other islands, such as Barbados have faced the same dilemma, and their governments have created solutions. According my research, with the government programs, Barbados' monkey pulation decreased by 25%.
It is a shame if our solutions are to import product from Dominica or spend lots of money on greenhouses and drip irrigation. Our Premier suggests that greenhouses at a cost of $150,000 is a solution for agricuture: my answer is that this will require an individual investment far beyond that an individual can spend. Does our Premier propose we go to a coop system, where a group share costs, labor and reveune? Given our tradition of ndependent farmers, this is not likely. It is also true that our local polulation who love their individual gardens will not participate and be left as they are now.
I know that there are intelligent people on Nevis who can solve the monkey problem. My question is are they in the government?