Abrahams makes appeal on behalf of ‘illegal’ vendors

Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams is warning Government that its proposed legislation to combat praedial larceny is likely to “criminalize” unregistered vendors, including “younger people who may just be selling a few ackees to make ends meet”.

“I am concerned that every single breach of the law will result in criminal charges, no matter how small,” the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) spokesman said in the Upper Chamber yesterday when the Protection of Agricultural Products and Livestock Bill, 2017 came up for debate.

“For example, if a vendor is unregistered, he is subject to a criminal penalty, and if he doesn’t carry a certificate to prove where he obtained the produce from, he is also subject to criminal charges,” the attorney-at-law said.

He suggested that if anything, the vendors should be made to pay a small fine instead of having their actions deemed “a criminal offence that will go against their record and jeopardize them [when they go for a Certificate of Character], especially younger people who may just be selling a few ackees to make ends meet”.

Abrahams further complained that the bill was too burdensome and was likely to create more bureaucracy with the high number of certificates workers in the agricultural sector would be required to produce.

“Farmers need certificates, vendors need certificates, if you get someone to transport the items for you, that person has to get a certificate too. Has anyone looked at this process carefully?” Senator Abrahams queried.

He also suggested that the new law would be difficult to police, while questioning why the Minister of Agriculture had to be involved in appointing wardens and determining the uniform they would wear.

The Opposition spokesman was equally concerned that in some respects wardens would wield more power than police officers, as “they can stop and search people without a warrant [and] they can check anything they find on that person, even if it doesn’t pertain to farm produce”.

Yet, Abrahams pointed out “there is nothing in the law indicating how these wardens will be trained”.

He also highlighted several vague aspects of legislation.

For instance, he said “there is no word on what the registration fees will be, and if a person registers as a farmer and a vendor, will they get a discount?

“There should also be a minimum quantity of items requiring a certificate. I shouldn’t need one if I am only selling ten oranges, but if I have 100, then it’s a different story,” Abrahams said, while questioning

whether all parties in the sector were consulted in the drafting the legislation.

16 Responses to Abrahams makes appeal on behalf of ‘illegal’ vendors

  1. archy perch December 8, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Strupse. The incumbent is going to put so many licks in your behind it ain’t funny.

    Reply
  2. Mia Colucci December 8, 2017 at 1:50 am

    And every breach of the law SHOULD result in criminal charges. How about encouraging vendors and all other parties in the supply chain to get the certificates required? This is exactly why our agriculture sector is struggling. Go and have a conversation with a farmer who has had his crops stolen, after investing time and money into his business.

    Reply
  3. Saga Boy December 8, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Can’t please some people at all. If you break any existing law there are penalties. We need to stop this small man foolishness and encourage every body to comply. I passed Warrens yesterday and the vendors had their respective work areas clean and tidy. We have to get them to do this continuously. They should have access to clean water as well and perhaps a skip like they do around the Savanah in Trinidad.

    Reply
  4. Alex Alleyne December 8, 2017 at 6:35 am

    You are trivializing the issue. I know it’s the silly season , but get serious when dealing with what is “illegal”. These crooks must understand that going on people’s property and teefing large sums of root crops , plantains and bananas and slaughtering cows and some sheep must not go without punishment. This idea of a feller selling ackees , dunks or maybe plums is not the issue. I am asking for the Large farmers to be giving Firearms with scopes so that they can “hit what they aim at” in order to prove to one and all , we mean business.

    Reply
  5. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore December 8, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I’m all for the regulation of vending in this country if we’re to avoid the indiscriminate misuse of our streets & highways by persons bent on just making a dollar. That said, care must be taken in how we police the informal sector so as not to prevent lawful persons from plying their trade. In the formal economy enough hurdles are placed in the way of legitimate businesses from setting up or expanding operations. There’s a call for some aspects of deregulation so as to enable new & existing businesses to act more swiftly in taking advantage of opportunities. Regulate if you must but if people with bills to pay & families to feed are prevented from earning a honest dollar then we’ll be courting social upheaval that will border on criminality. Farmers should never be deprived of their crops neither should the honest itinerant vendor be deprived from earning a living. A way has to be found to facilitate both.

    Reply
  6. andy g December 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Mr Abrahams.pls come up with a solution.you want to get elected,then stop all the foolish questioning and give an alternative..you know very well it’s not the ackee and plumbs vendors they are after even though they can be caught under the same umbrella depends on how thw legislation is draft.

    Reply
  7. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor December 8, 2017 at 11:36 am

    When d Blp was in power ya couldn’t get a vendors license renew far less a new one! Went in d pine and got turned around so many times till frustration set in! So wa he beggin fa….

    Reply
  8. John Collymore December 8, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Firstly, i’m pro legislation for eliminating this scourge of predial larceny, however, the devil is always in the details or should I say the interpretations to this act which should be clear or unambiguous. I can predict inherent legal problems arising should the enforcers not be police officers. There is absolutely no need to create a quasi police force or so-called “wardens” to “police” this act when the main component of crop theft is markets or channels of distribution (intermediaries). In short, eliminate the distribution channels and predial larceny can be arrested and this is where our police officers are quite capable of enforcing the act and well equipt to handle any legal “fallout” which may arise.

    Reply
  9. Mac December 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    When will the media in Barbados become responsable enough to
    enlight the public as to the contents of legislation being debated.

    A brief on the sections referred to would give them an understanding.

    Please give some relevent information .

    Reply
  10. Donild Trimp December 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    “wardens would wield more power than police officers, as they can stop and search people without a warrant [and] they can check anything they find on that person, even if it doesn’t pertain to farm produce”.

    Not true Sir.

    The above statement from you is absolutely false.

    Reply
  11. Loretta Griffith December 8, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Mr Abrahams, laws are laws, rules are rules and regulations are regulations. If a person steals he should be punished.
    We should not appear to be condoning wrong doings. Let us pass the laws that would protect farmers or persons from criminals.
    Let’s all try to make Barbados better by eliminating the criminal elements.

    Reply
  12. milli watt December 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t buy from that crowd because they are a host for stolen produce, the price ain’t no different than the supermarket and they don’t pay income tax……….I watching this lawyer close he look and sound like an opportunist

    Reply
  13. Sheron Inniss December 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I am against some aspects of this bill. As a backyard gardener I sometimes have a little extra or buy a little from farms sometimes to sell. I make no apologies for saying I have no intention of getting a certificate. I shall cross that bridge when I get to it. It seems the only thing this administration is capable of doing is taxing you to death.

    Reply
  14. dave December 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Wow!! Such aggressive responses to what the senator is asking for; which are penalties that fit the crime. A petty offense should warrant a petty penalty such as a fine or payment of property lost to the owner. The other part of what the senator purpose is the reduction of people with a criminal record who might become unable to find future employment because of a criminal record. This to would be the result of the crime of a petty offense. It is a soft approach yes which a lot of the people posting comments do not support. However, how would you like the possibility of you or someone you love opportunities diminish forever because of a petty offense.

    Reply
  15. pat December 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    No registration

    Reply

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