Thieves stole agri passion

Published: Monday | December 16, 2013 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is with bitter memories that I support the comments of Howard Chin in The Gleaner dated December 10, 2013 ('Why are we poor? Because we're stupid!') on this perennial issue of farm theft and the persistent 'stupidity' of many of my countrymen.

There is no excuse for the blatant and unpardonable treachery of workers, teachers, neighbours, and law-enforcement officers, too many of whom witness or overhear the stealing of agricultural crops and still cooperate, or share the spoils, with thieves.

Poverty could well be reduced or eliminated with exposure of theft to the relevant rural authorities (police or specific crop-related associations).

I know the ministries of Govern-ment have tried, but this matter is for everyone's input.

In the '70s, my friend and I sacrificed thousands of dollars in earnings and returned home to invest in agriculture. We worked seven days weekly and gave up our vacations. We worked part-time at the College of Arts, Science and Technology (now the University of Technology) as lecturers.

Just when our rewards for our labours were to be reaped, others got there before us. My friend's wife left in tears and minus their invested savings. I left later because I would never have been able to help my children seek a tertiary education, which was one of the objectives of our labour. We took years to pay off our debts, and even in doing so I lost acres of my land.

I never believed this could happen to grown men, but my friend and I visited Gutters in St Catherine where he farmed. He cried uncontrollably when he saw the citrus trees he had planted. He passed away in Florida where he so loved farming, raised goats, and went fishing for fun and profit.

Recently, I wrote to ask my daughter to sell a piece of land my wife and I bought when we went to the UK as students in the 1950s. I too found the writing pad full of tears. We can't leave our native land out of our travels.

My wife and I turned up unexpectedly at our place in St Thomas to see workers (unknown) burning coal and planting lovely cabbages and pak choi. So we asked who was paying taxes for the land. Amid the laughter, they all responded, "We only work it, Bossy." So we left unknown. We sold it and cried.

KEITH GOLDING

keithmoy@rogers.com

Ontario, Canada

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