Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, is lamenting the impact of praedial larceny on the sector and has registered his dissatisfaction with those who commit this crime.
The Minister shared these sentiments today as he addressed members of the farming community, at the start of a virtual consultation to update the Draft Praedial Larceny Legislation.
He said: “It is unfortunate that in Barbados we have to battle with this very unfortunate means through which people seek to gain economic enfranchisement. It is really very unfortunate that our society today would find itself in a place where so many of our citizens would seek to use all sorts of short cuts towards economic enfranchisement.”
Stressing that praedial larceny was a short cut, he acknowledged it made it difficult for farmers to get a just return on investment, simply because [other] people chose “to go the route of crop theft, livestock theft, rather than put in the investment and seek to get the return on investment”.
Adding that those engaged in praedial larceny were doing so at zero cost to themselves and gaining significant profits from this activity, the Agriculture Minister observed such persons were highly organised and able to use some of the best and most suitable vehicles for the terrain, when going into the fields.
“And, equally, are equipped with all types of mechanisms in order that they may protect themselves. It is my understanding that some of them are heavily armed and we are challenged with the responsibility of making sure that we can respond and make sure that our farmers are protected,” he stated.
Mr. Weir further signalled his frustration with one such recent act, saying: “I am really, really disappointed that in the most challenging of times, when COVID is upon us; when we have had to grapple with volcanic ash fall, … with a freak storm and at the beginning of the hurricane season we’ve had a Category 1 hurricane; we also have to be battling with praedial larceny to the extent that in recent times an individual could have been apprehended by the police, allegedly being caught on a farm, engaging in praedial larceny.
“And, … I sound my disappointment because I believe that we have matured to the extent that we, as a people, need to become more responsible and seek legal ways of earning a living rather than continue along a path of dishonesty in this country.”