No need for crop cops
Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul sees no need for any special “agriculture police” to tackle the problem of praedial larceny, as recently suggested by an official of the Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Last week, IICA’s representative to Barbados, Ena Harvey, called for the establishment of a police unit to deal specifically with the problem that has been plauging local farmers.
However, Paul told Barbados TODAY that was not necessary, suggesting that a better response time from the police would bring about improvement.
While acknowledging that the Ministry of Agriculture was undertaking some initiatives to tackle the issue as the resources of the Royal Barbados Police Force were stretched, Paul said the solution called for all concerned parties to play their part.
“I don’t think the answer is to just have specific agriculture police. The resources of this country are very slim, but I think what we need to see is a definite improvement in the efficiency of the response of the police authorities to reports or incidents of praedial larceny,” said Paul.
“We have instances where people have been committing crime and by the time [the police] get there they [the thieves] are just leaving or the police come and see them escaping over a wall. Things like these are happening. . . . I am not going to say they are not responding but it is the time they take to respond. And maybe we need to augment the resources of the Royal Barbados Police Force in order to deal with this.”
Paul said the judicial system should also play a greater role in helping tackle the problem.
“We need to pay attention to the question of the legislation and aspects of it. For instance, the acceptance or the use of video evidence in courts to catch people who are stealing,” he said, noting that on several occasions people have been caught on camera committing the act.
“I also want to add that we have to, on a whole, take it more seriously. We need to know that when these cases are brought before the court that they will be dealt with expeditiously. I keep on saying that justice delayed is justice denied and we cannot continue to have a situation where cases are taking too long to be dealt with by the law courts. We have been promised a more efficient judicial system and I think it is incumbent upon those functionaries within the judicial system to treat more expeditiously to any cases such as these and I believe that will help,” Paul contended.