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Best: Jail crop thieves

Remand them to prison!

That’s what St. Michael East Kenny Best wants to happen to individuals when they are taken to court for stealing crops.

He made the call today as Government’s members in the House of Assembly debated and approved a diesel rebate for a number of sectors, including farmers.

The Deputy Speaker of the House said praedial larceny was so serious that he believed it should be a High Court matter.

“I would hope that when they are placed before the courts that the magistrate understands that praedial larceny is a serious offence and the same way you are going to remand somebody to prison for a spliff I believe you should do the same thing,” he said.

“And the same way that you must go to the High Court for a gun I believe that if you are caught with praedial larceny it is so serious, because it affects the livelihood of not only one person, the farmer, but all those persons who would have worked in the field, … that those persons who have been caught stealing should have to seek the High Court to get bail.”

With public service vehicle operators also benefitting from the diesel subsidy, Best said he was happy with the improved behaviour he had observed among these individuals, but said more needed to be done.

“Despite the numerous criticisms, like in every organisation there will be persons who will have challenges to conform, but … all is not lost in this sector and we have seen that with the introduction of the Transport Authority and the increase in inspectors that we have recognised that some of the behavior and the cries from the public, some of those persons are finally recognising that this is an important sector and it must be protected and it cannot go without rules and regulations,” he said.

“We have made promises that we would improve the terminals but because of these financial constraints in these development times we were unable to build the necessary facilities in the terminals, but I am sure that we have repaired the terminals and it is much better than what we found when the Barbados Labour Party demitted office.

“What we must do is ensure that we do all that is necessary; the police have to play their part, the insurance companies have to play their part and the citizens have to play their part to ensure that this sector that is constantly being bashed, that the bashing is removed. And it can only be removed if all of us play our part,” Best added. (SC)

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