Wednesday, April 17, 2024

TALKBACK: Harsher penalty needed for crop thieves

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THE NEWS THAT THIEVES made off with a bounty of cassava from the farm at the Ministry of Agriculture’s headquarters in Graeme Hall, Christ Church, brought crop theft back into the spotlight last week.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Esworth Reid, said the farm was hit twice in three days and the thieves made off with hundreds of pounds of a new type of cassava.

This prompted online readers to once again ask what was being done to protect local produce. Some also suggested ways to stamp out the practice.

Here’s a sample of responses.

 

Ebonyeyes59: So where was the security?

Mr Psychotic: They were hit twice in a matter of days? So what was done after the first hit?

Fay Ann: I’m not buying any cassava . . . . How does one reap rewards off someone else’s hard work and feel comfortable? Did you grow plant slips in the hot sun? What about the labourers who have children to feed and still have to be paid? I hope profit isn’t made from one shred of it . . . . It’s wrong.

Santini More: Crop theft has been a major problem to our farmers for decades and what have successive Governments done about it? Nothing. Now that the economy is tanking and unemployment is high, thieves are stealing crops on an industrial scale because they know that even if they are caught, the punishment is a slap on the wrist. Barbados needs farmers and the crops they grow. Farmers deserve to be protected from crop theft.

Annetta Paul: Electronic fencing. Just be sure to put lots of warning signs, both in words and pictures. Then they can enter at their own risk. Make it legal before people start shooting trespassers. With employment at a low, stealing other people’s vegetables and fruits may be a quick way to make a dollar for desperate people. The poor farmers work so hard only to have most of their stuff stolen. Yep! This may only be the smoke if some drastic changes are not in place.

Samud Ali: Years and years of this, yet every field is as easy to walk into and through as if it were a road. No fencing, no security, no nada. Again I ask how many times have we passed a field and just seen random cars pulled up and people picking stuff? Now I may be ignorant to how these things work or “de culcha” of Bajan farming, but ever wonder who those people are? So crops are of great value yet left unattended or unsecured and up to the goodness of mankind not to steal?

Nealiho Hope: It’s up to the lawmakers to stiffen the penalties for raiding and robbing farms, especially on a large scale. Something really needs to be done.

Daniel Burton: Maybe now, just maybe, the Government will understand the plight of the private farmers . . . but I’m not holding my breath.

Rachelle Morris: Where were the watchmen who are paid to watch these areas?

 

Natasha Beckles is the NATION’S Online Coordinator.

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