An Independent Senator has expressed concern about praedial larceny in this country and moreso the impact that this illegal activity is having on the sugar cane crop. Senator Dr. Frances Chandler voiced her concern in the Upper House yesterday morning as the debate continued on the 2012 Appropriation Bill setting out the annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. Dr. Chandler said that praedial larceny is becoming a commercial business and not just affecting vegetable farmers, but the sugar cane farmers as well.
“Recently an owner confronted someone who was about to load up his van with cane and the person told him that he was just trying to make an honest living. He also said that he did not consider taking cane to be equivalent to robbing somebody ... So how is agriculture supposed to thrive when this is how praedial larceny is seen in the eyes of the public?” she queried.
She continued, “The same owner was driving about his estate and could not get through a cart road because five, Madam President, not one, but five vehicles were parked in this cart road loading up cane.” Dr. Chandler told the Upper House that the praedial larceny on that estate has amounted to 10 tonnes of cane per field, for two fields to date. With that in mind, she maintained that persons who sell cane juice should have to prove where they get the cane from and certainly, she contended; those selling pieces of cane by the side of the road should also be questioned.