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dr colin hudson
February 27 Richard Hoad (Weekend
Nation) by Richard Hoad
“THEY have sown the wind and they will reap the
whirlwind. Their corn crop stands there barren with no grain; if it produces
any, foreigners will eat it.” Hosea 8:7
There is a cart-road opposite where Combermere School
is but wasn't many years ago. Many years ago a boy drove into that cart-road
one night. Exactly one minute, fifty-eight seconds later a young man drove
out, dizzy from a whirlwind encounter.
On my first day at work, I drove into that same cart-road.
Sugar Producers had an experimental plot there. A strange sight met the
eye. In bright sunshine, a white man in a black rain-coat was rushing
hither and thither, getting sloshed by irrigation sprinklers.
Suddenly he raced across a nearby field where the canes
bad been cut, a virtual bat out of hell with black raincoat streaming
behind. A whirlwind had picked up a swirl of cane-trash. He was trying
to catch it.
That was my first introduction to Colin Hudson and those
two incidents epitomise his approach to life. If you want to see exactly
where the water is falling you have to get in there and get wet. If you
want to know what a whirlwind feels like, you have to get inside one to
That was almost 40 years ago. Since then our paths have
crossed from time to time as he moved from sugar cane agronomist through
equipment inventor to the bigger picture of sustainable lifestyles and
trying to stop man destroying our planet. Colin's contribution has been
extraordinary and it wont be easy to replace his boundless energy, encyclopaedic
knowledge and willingness to share expertise.
Yet Colin Hudson, like the rest us who dare stand in front
of the runaway freight trains of greed and “development” will
have failed in his mission. Water restrictions have come early this year
but will any Bajans follow his example and install waterless toilets to
save this precious resource? (Water, not food, is the commodity over which
man will fight in the future, Colin kept reminding us.)
Who will sort, recycle and reuse garbage to avoid landfill
mountains? Who will “tread lightly” on the world's rapidly
disappearing resources? Who will save what's left of our agricultural
land, so we can feed ourselves?
The loss of agricultural land was one of Colin's greatest
nightmares and he kept highlighting the staggering statistics. Who cares?
The fisherfolk who farm the sea are bemoaning the loss
of their fishing grounds. Government is doing its utmost to protect them.
Yet it allows good agricultural land to be bulldozed for development while
unproductive land is available.
Recently the music artistes
vowed not to record any music because their CDs were being pirated and
their “intellectual property” stolen. The police are taking
Compare the farmers' constant cry in the wilderness for
help against crop thieves. They invest heavily in seed, fertiliser, weeding,
spraying, put in back-breaking labour in the broiling sun. Only to wake
one morning and find their crops gone.
Some spend thousands on security firms with dogs and guards.
Some get awakened in the dead of night by a call from a watchman and must
strap on a gun and go out to face the intruders. They have been threatened,
beaten and stabbed. Passersby descend on cane-fields and take their fill.
The farmer isn't supposed to object.
Big and small have suffered. I watched old Ma Hurley in
her 80s step off the bus in time to see three coconut vendors load a bunch
of coconuts from her only tree onto their truck. And when she took it
off they chucked her to one side and drove off with it.
Farmers must take the law into their own hands. One guy
caught two thieves escaping with his vegetables. He chased and rammed
their brand new Suzuki van to a pulp with his jeep. Finally the driver
jumped out and took off like Oba. Only to see his one-legged accomplice
whizz past and disappear into the distance. That is facts.
Their corn crop stands barren, said Hosea, and if it produces
any grain, foreigners will eat it. They didn't heed Hosea, we didn't heed
Colin, we shall reap the whirlwind.
Tread lightly, my brother.
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator