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Magistrates not taking predial larceny seriously

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EDITOR: Mr. Commissioner, congratulations on your recent promotion.

Chief, as you are aware you have a very challenging task ahead with the rapid increase in rape, murder, etc. As a farmer, I ask that you make a special effort to reduce or eliminate problems relating to predial larceny. {{more}}

Many farmers and backyard gardeners have been continuously losing their crops due to thieves. The courts and police seem not to care enough or are helpless in certain instances. The magistrates who are supposed to mete out justice seem not to understand the magnitude of this social problem.

I am a banana farmer in Richland Park. After the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September and until this week (October 14), thieves have been stealing my bananas on an average of four (4) bunches weekly. Many other farmers in the village share a similar fate.

On Wednesday, October 5, Pats Williams, was found guilty by Magistrate Dougan in the Mespo Courts for stealing my bananas. In summing up Magistrate Dougan stated that he understood the extent of the problems that farmers face.

To my great surprise the magistrate gave the convict a suspended sentence. The reason given was that he had problems sending someone to prison for banana. This magistrate seems not to care about the continuous loss through theft that farmers face at a time when labour is expensive and scarce, at a time when banana farmers feel like giving up.

For this week I have already lost eight bunches as though the thieves got the ok from the magistrate. What are farmers to do when the courts respond in an insensitive manner to their problems?

Mr. Commissioner, I feel that all persons responsible for executing justice must be more sensitive to the victims of crime, be it predial larceny, rape, murder, etc.

Vehicle loads of bananas and other produce are taken to Kingstown during the early morning hours. Why can’t the police “stop and search”, get persons to identify and locate place or origin?

Several persons trade in the “banana thieving business.” I am sure that the police could implement a system to reduce this trade. Remember the days of the Rural Constable?

Please Mr. Commissioner, get your officers to be more vigilant and effective. Get magistrates to understand the woes of the farmer. Punishment should fit the crime.

Finally, remember that one reason for our high food import bill is because local farmers and backyard gardeners are not producing enough for the

market.

A Farmer

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