Stop 'farming' the fool
Glenn Tucker, Contributor
The Ministry of Agriculture and related organisations have come under fire for their receipt-book ini-tiative in response to the praedial larceny problem.
The attitude of these detractors is similar to those who claim that casino gambling will not solve our economic problems. Of course, it won't! Not by itself. But it is an important initiative in dealing with the problem.
The main challenge facing those with this plan is the resistance of a significant number of farmers to being registered. The claim is that they suspect that the information gained may be used to get them to pay their taxes. So what this is telling us is that these persons who are complaining daily for more of everything do not want to do their civic duty by contributing to the cost of this assistance.
I also know that some of these same tax cheats are always at the head of the line with outrageously inflated claims whenever bad weather or some other disaster creates a problem for them.
But what are these farmers doing to help themselves? I say that because this is not a problem that can be solved from some boardroom. There has to be a significant community input.
It is highly unlikely that one or two thieves can leave, say, Port Maria and journey, in the dead of night, to, say, Chalky Hill, find a herd of goats and remove the ones they need without help from a farmhand or someone else in that area. It should not be too much to expect farmers to create a secure holding area for their animals at night.
Pandering to the poor
One of our big problems nobody wants to talk about, lest they be seen as not loving the poor, is the extent to which persons in government are being manipulated by those who are supposed to be poor.
Anyone with two brassieres and three rags to sell can demand that government find somewhere to 'put' them. Sellers who are a law unto themselves and refuse to insure their goods make huge demands of government when these mysterious, convenient fires destroy their goods. And government - hungry for votes - is always happy to dip into our taxes to oblige.
When is someone going to develop the intestinal fortitude to tell these people like it is? If that ever happens, may I make the following suggestions:
1. Any governmental assistance should be available only to those farmers who are registered. This not only helps with the larceny problem but is an important planning tool which also benefits the farmer.
2. Farmers must come together in their community and devise a plan, taking geographical conditions, population distribution and police availability into consideration. When this plan is presented and ratified, help will be provided.
3. The removal of civics as a subject in school makes us have to teach farmers of the importance of taxes - helping them to understand that there are many services offered to them that could not be managed effectively under any other system.
In the final analysis, farmers need to be told the plain, unvarnished truth - that it is their investment and they must play an active role in its protection.