New inspectors to combat praedial larceny

Government is introducing a special class of enforcement officer – the agricultural inspector – in a move to effectively tackle praedial larceny or crop theft which is a longstanding headache for many local farmers.

According to Minister of Agriculture, Dr David Estwick, the inspectors will have legal authority to engage in any sector where farm produce is being sold and will be able to request evidence of ownership of such produce.

Delivering the feature address at the Barbados National Agricultural Conference today, Estwick said the inspectors were provided for in revamped praedial larceny legislation to go before Parliament shortly.

He said the legislation was redesigned to create and define areas where the old legislation was inadequate. For example, it includes a codified system to help with tracing farm produce which was a deficiency of the old legislation.

Dr David Estwick
Dr David Estwick

“Those persons [the agricultural inspectors] will make sure that you are able to provide under request your registration documentation, your certification documentation, so that it brings all those persons who are out there involved in the movement of agriculture products on a retail level, into a registration network and a network that allows for you to be able to define and clarify your relationship with the produce that you are selling,” he said.

The minister explained that by having these inspectors become part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s apparatus, the enforcement capacity of police officers to be able to act and carry out effective surveillance would be maximized.

Estwick explained: “We think this is an essential part of the piece of legislation that was missing. The old elements of the legislation that define all sales of agriculture produce have receipts associated with them and that is fine.

“But what we have done is we have strengthened that [provision so that] those that act as farmers at the level of the primary producer, will have a particular type of receipt book format that would be advanced from the Ministry.

“Those who are at the level of wholesalers and those who are retailing will also have a different type of receipt book structure and all of them will have proper codification systems. . .”

Estwick said he often listened to complaints on call-in programmes where callers voiced their opinions about crop theft on the island, and questioned what Government was doing about it.

However, the outspoken minister contended that praedial larceny was not just a policymaker’s problem, but a multifaceted legal issue that required agricultural stakeholders to work along with the law to get it
under control.

“It involves the agricultural sector in regards to its various societies coming together, working therefore with government, working therefore with the legal system, working with the Police Force system and also working with the Ministry of Finance in regards to the types of incentive systems that could be put in place to help mitigate this particular scourge,” he said.

7 Responses to New inspectors to combat praedial larceny

  1. Alex Alleyne March 31, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Who are going to pay these Inspectors and what will be thier working hours . Please give the land owners a “high powered rifle” with a scope and bullets and then we can collect the dead … Problem solved .

  2. Patrick Blackman March 31, 2015 at 9:31 am

    You don’t need new inspectors, you need enforcement of the existings laws.

  3. Watchman March 31, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Why is this even the government’s problem ?
    How about the affected farmers actually do the job themselves. Technology is available in the form of surveillance equipment that can monitor fields, detect intrusions and notify owners and authorities. Now this isn’t a dream I had, this is just what real farmers do in countries where people dont go crying like babies to the government for every little problem.

    Why the government would take on this issue at all, never mind at a time when money is tight (even if only because they refuse to collect outstanding taxes, but that’s another matter) is beyond me.

  4. Patrick Blackman March 31, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Watchman, if government did not take on this job they would not be able to say they are doing something for the small farmer. What the minister should be doing is outlining to bajans government’s agriculture policy but since we they have none, we get this load of …. from the minister, this napoleon complex individual need to just go away somewhere and never come back.

  5. Alex Alleyne March 31, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    A man after long hours out in his field , go in and to bed at nine o’clock then get up at one o’clock and find a cow done kill and skin along with couple areas of carrots and beans gone .
    Will these Inspectors be out on the beat in these wee-wee hours ?.

  6. Alex Alleyne March 31, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    SUBSIDIZE the Farmers if you are serious Mr. Estwick .

  7. seagul March 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    In Corsica ( 300,000 ppl) they blow up the luxurious homes to safeguard the islands culture. They do not condemn the violence because they say the poor people have no other way to be heard. Societal crisis with youngsters without future prospects, shameless real estate speculation and money laundering.


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