Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Peter Webster
Congratulations to Mr. Patrick Bethel on an excellent, well written and timely article on crop theft also known as “praedial larceny”. “Tiefing is tiefing” by whatever name we want to call it.
13 years ago (2009), I was invited to attend a “farmers meeting” with the then Minister of Agriculture at the Ministry Of Agriculture, Graeme Hall. The Minister asked the farmers attending to list the three biggest problems in agriculture production in Barbados and they responded with:
1. Praedial larceny;
2. Praedial larceny; and
3. Praedial larceny. Essentially the problem cannot be overstated and it has been unsolved for more than 50 years!
The problem with any legislation on larceny is its policing and larceny is a difficult problem to police because it can only be policed after the fact. A tief en tief until after he tief. Prevention is better than cure.
The police need better support in policing crop theft. That will only come when the “powers that be” recognise that the thieves must trespass before they can “tief”.
To better police crop theft, the laws relating to trespass in Barbados need revisiting and strengthening so that the police can arrest and charge trespassers before they “tief”.
Why do I think that this will never happen? In 2008 the then Prime Minister of Barbados made a statement reported in the press to the effect that “Praedial larceny was no big thing”. Maybe the problem is “who you tief from?” Round and round we go, like water in a sink-hole vortex…
Editor’s note: According to existing Barbados laws, persons can be arrested for trespassing.