Director of Agriculture on Nevis Dr. Kelvin Daly, announced that the Department of Agriculture would cease to conduct any business with persons convicted or even suspected of praedial and livestock larceny.
He made the disclosure on Monday May 21, 2007 during an interview with the Department of Information, in the wake of two arrests last weekend which involved a major butcher on the island for the larceny of livestock.
He said the theft of items having to do with farming whether livestock or root crops, had reached unbearable proportions and had become a sore matter for the Department.
“The Department of Agriculture has been trying to tackle this problem for a long time. We think it’s time that we came out and discussed the matter publicly and we are taking a very strong stand on this matter. We have decided that any persons found guilty or even suspected of we will cease doing business with those persons immediately until the resolution of the matter.
“This morning (Monday) I wrote to the gentlemen in this matter, advising them that the Department will cease doing business with them until the case has been resolved. I think that the situation is very serious because it involved one of our major butchers on the island and we are appealing to people to be on the lookout for meats that did not pass through the process at the Abattoir,” he said.
According to Dr. Daly, there were distinguished marks which enabled an unsuspecting consumer to determine whether the meat was handled by the Abattoir. He said one should look at the type of meat and how it is cut.
If the meat was chopped by a machete Dr. Daly said, it suggested that it did not pass through the Abattoir; it did not go through the anti-mortem process which is the pre slaughtering inspection, neither was the meat subjected to the post mortem inspection by the Environmental Health Department.
Notwithstanding, the Agriculture Official said there was not much that could be done to curb the problem in the absence of public assistance and urged them to be vigilant about the type of meat sold to them. He said the Department was cognisant of the theft of livestock that went on and in most cases it was the small farmers that were the victims.
He contended that in most cases the perpetrators were persons who knew the lay out of the farms and called on the farmers to make small investments to deter thieves.
“For individual farmers of livestock we are asking them to be careful how they pen their animals even a simple investment in a trip light or something like that to help. We will continue to do what we can at the Department, to make sure inspections are done of meats at the [Public] Market. We will start doing that immediately to make sure that the meat that comes into the market to be sold on Saturday mornings is meat that we can identify as being passing through the process [Abattoir]. If it has not passed through the process, we will not allow it to be sold,” he said.
Meantime, Dr. Daly said the problem of larceny had extended beyond crops and livestock and pointed to the recent theft of a half mile of two inch metal pipe at Cades Bay. The pipe is used to carry water to a number of crop farmers in the area.
“This kind of behaviour is really an abomination. It really is sad that we are reverting to this kind of stealing at somebody else’s cost.
“The farmers in Cades Bay have been struggling and here you go take a half a mile of their water pipes just to make fence posts, where is the conscience in that? It is a terrible act and we condemn it strongly. We offered a reward of $1000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those persons involved. Even if it comes from my pocket I will pay it personally, to make sure these persons are arrested and dealt with at the full extent of the law because it is a behaviour that is accelerating,” he said.
According to Dr. Daly, there were other cases of larceny experienced by the Department. He explained that persons engaged in stealing and selling of face stones from the ruins considered to be historical sites on remote government estates and made huge profits. He said the Department had not been able to catch the perpetrators but when it did, the matter would be pursued to the full extent of the law.
“It is time that we act decisively and put a mechanism in place to reward those persons who can give us information leading to the arrest and convictions of these people because it is really a rape of Nevisian history and Nevisian culture to do this kind of thing.”
“We need to, as a country, stand up against this nonsense. If anybody has information that can help us put an end to this nonsense, feel free to call me at the Department of NNC or VON Radio and give us [Department of Agriculture] an idea of who is doing this kind of things because we really need to get to the bottom of it,” he said.