Farmers’ dilemma

Dear Editor,
Over the years, deliberate damaging and thieving of crops, flooding, etc., have been plaguing farmers, without any proper assistance or remedy forthcoming to give farmers relief from these plagues. History has shown us that out of frustration, repeatedly, the farmers took actions into their own hands, and in some cases, caused quite a furore in Guyana, even escalating to racial tension, protesting, etc.
If one should check, crop thieving is the most regular disaster farmers suffer in terms of time, and it places quite an economic burden on them. They would suffer losses in fractions daily at every crop, or, in many cases, one huge loss, based on the crop and season.
In reality, for me, a farmer suffers severe losses more than anyone else in Guyana. Thieves would break into your house, or you get robbed in most cases, and sometimes a few times; but total up the farmer’s continuous losses and you would see that it’s unmatchable.
Editor, three nights ago, I was talking to a young man who is not venturing into farming, and he told me that he and quite a few farmers planting in Uitvlugt are constantly suffering losses. Numerous junkies are patrolling around, just looking to discomfit others by stealing their fruits, crops, etc. when they are not around; and some are even bold enough to venture into your yard to steal.
Police would get numerous reports of these crimes, consider them petty, and fail to act. I’ve made reports at Leonora Police Station of seeing thieves stealing fruits from my trees, and the Police tell me that when I see the culprits, I must inform them. It’s frustrating to know that every season you have to give extra attention to what is rightfully yours, because you’re not getting protection. When the thieves are caught, Police usually keep them for a few days, and release them without charge, even though you check. That’s why, when these thieves are caught, many people take action into their own hands.
Many people would voice their disgust, but only those who continuously face this plague know the torment. In addition, it also creates a racial environment, some races would see one race stealing from another race and agreeing, or would mercilessly beat someone if he/she is of a different race.
Government and officials come from all over for the agriculture programmes, talking about trading, planting, and various methods that are supposed to be benefiting everyone, but they fail to address this sore.
Getting stiffer laws, finding means to prevent thieves from stealing, and discussing ways of getting the various races to unite are not being pursued. But they just walk around, make glorious speeches, and eat, drink and be merry.

Sabato Bates