Idle Agricultural Land: Do Marijuana Growers Have a Praedial Larceny Problem?

The following article was submitted by Peter Webster to the Nation newspaper and is yet to be published – Barbados Underground

The Agriculture sector continues to be in a state of drift under the leadership of Minister of Agriculture David Estwick and CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society James Paul.

The article titled “Let Farmers use idle land” in the Sunday Sun 24.09.17 which claimed that “marijuana growers were constantly taking advantage of unused plantation land left bare by privileged plantation owners” is misleading social mischief. Barbados produces very little marijuana, probably less than five acres per year. Most is imported. The facts are:

  1. There are currently more than 1,000 acres of idle, uncultivated, small (less than 10 acre) agricultural lots in Barbados. Not just plantation lands are idle. Why?
  2. Most farmers in Barbados suffer from a lack of water (rain and or irrigation) to grow their food and vegetable crops other than those planted in September to November;
  3. The Minister of Agriculture once asked a stakeholders meeting of farmers what their problems were. They unanimously responded that their major problems were “praedial” larceny, “praedial” larceny and “praedial” larceny… What has this government done about praedial larceny? Do the marijuana growers have a praedial larceny problem?
  4. Sugar cane and grass for forage are the only large, field scale crops that can otherwise be grown and they are currently financial losers with an uncertain future. If we could fix the problems of the large field scale crops we would not have any idle land;
  5. The Barbados food and vegetable crop market is limited and this limits the acreage that can be grown in these crops. That is why food and vegetable crops often encounter saturated markets, with the farmers suffering financial losses;
  6. The Government managed plantation lands of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) and the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) have been targeted by the marijuana growers as much as the so called “privileged plantation owner lands” and those Government managed lands suffer as much, if not more so, from praedial larceny as any others. The marijuana growers look for the least secure areas;
  7. The foremost idle plantation lands in Barbados are under judicial management. Are those lands privileged?
  8. Marijuana growers have such a lucrative market that they are prepared to cart buckets of water to any hidden nook and cranny, with little regard to cost, in order to grow their high value marijuana and they are not just targeting idle lands but have also used plots within cultivated (sugar cane) fields;
  9. They may be lots of people wanting land to farm in Barbados, but it is a myth that there are lots of “farmers” in Barbados waiting to get agricultural land to cultivate. The results of Government “land lease” and failed “land for landless” projects is that four out of every five (80%) of those so called “farmers” have failed.
  10. The problem with leasing agricultural land in Barbados is that there is no civil justice. The last land owner who needed to remove a tenant took 17 years before the court and high costs to do so.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    All the hypocrites who spent decades demonizing the plant and the Black population who used it will now want to go a hogging…find something else or stick with what ya got. ..yall are too greedy and covetous.


  • WW
    I know how you love the majority/minority angle. But as long as you have (what you call) house negroes, and what BT’s calls ‘other albino centric members of the majority population’, literally anything is possible amidst your ‘systems in place’. Some ferner will come outta da blue, have access to the forex and who knows what will appear. It ent like it en happen before?


  • Always the problem!


    Bail and small fines not enough for crop thieves


    Cassava (Internet image)

    Cassava (Internet image)

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    Crop thieves need to feel the brunt of the law.

    A one thousand dollar fine judgement handed down to a man charged for the theft of 80 pounds of cassava from a plantation is not sitting well with the Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS).

    President James Paul told Loop News that these slight judgments are what could discourage and dissuade persons from investing heavily in farming to the detriment of the entire country because the food import bill already is too high.

    Questioning the granting of bail and payment of fines as a consequence when one pleads guilty to crop theft, Paul told Loop News,

    “It seems as if these people yes are being given a slap on the wrist and many agriculturists will say that. It seems as though the matters are not be attended to in a serious enough manner by the courts because they are letting these people out to go and do the same thing again. But we need to send stern messages to people out there that this kind of thing will not be tolerated.”

    Caught while trying to escape after thieving some 80 pounds of cassava from a plantation, Paul urged that judges and magistrates must look at the bigger picture because this may be the one time the repeat offender is caught, but not his or her first theft.

    “It is sad really though that the person would do that kind of stuff, first of all, and in terms of the fine,… I think they really should look at these sentences on these people who commit this kind of crime. Some may argue it is not enough… They might see it as a light sentence especially as this might be the one time that he has been caught but there may have been other times where he has not been caught. It is these considerations, I believe that you have to think of too.”

    He said that the picture in its entirety must be understood before handing down lenient judgements;“It is preventing people from making the kind of investment that is required. If we continue to see offenders apprehended and given serious sentences, that way it would act as a deterrent for those who would want to engage in the practice of stealing agriculture produce.”

    Moreover, he asserted that the lack of any real prison time or large fine amounts is having a negative impact on agriculture.

    Paul said it is not running people away from the field, but it is hampering how much cultivating they pursue.

    Noting that there is still interest being shown by persons to get into agriculture, he said that persons may not be calling it quits and packing up their tools, but people are not cultivating on all of their available acres.

    Seeing the leniency granted to crop thieves, people are not motivated to put in more at the risk of reaping less due to praedial larceny.

    “I would say in the last year, we have seen people still interested, as a matter of fact on a monthly basis we see people expressing an interest in getting involved in farming so I can’t say that as a result of this that we will see a decline in numbers. People still want to get it.

    “But certainly what I think would increase, is the acreage that is under production if people know that once people are caught there will be dealt with truthfully. That is what is compromising the industry.”

    Paul said at present if a man has 20 acres he is only putting one-quarter in production, for fear of investing too much and losing much to thieves. “But on the other hand, if he gets the impressions that the law is behind him on this and if he invests and is able to at least able to get back as much as he invests, that would give people greater incentive to increase the amount of land that is under cultivation.”

    Roland Romel Layne, 37, of Edey Village, Christ Church, appeared before Magistrate Elwood Watts in the Oistins Magistrates Court Monday, October 16, 2017, charged with the theft of the 80 lbs of cassava from Sundale Trading Company and two counts of assault.

    He pleaded guilty to the theft of cassavas and was fined $1000 to be paid by November 28, 2017, or 6 months in prison.

    However, he pleaded not guilty to the two counts of assault and was granted $1500 bail with one surety to reappear in the District ‘B’ Court on November 16, 2017.

    Layne who is known as ‘Mr Agriculture’ on a popular radio call-in programme called the station and retaliated after numerous comments on Facebook and on air saying that he was not guilty and lamented, “What I don’t like is people trying to take the situation and twist it all around to make me look like a ‘hard blown’ criminal, which I am not.”


  • IF TRUE…..”He pleaded guilty to the theft of cassavas and was fined $1000 to be paid by November 28, 2017, or 6 months in prison.”

    IF TRUE….. ” on air saying that he was not guilty and lamented, “What I don’t like is people trying to take the situation and twist it all around to make me look like a ‘hard blown’ criminal, which I am not.”

    He is not a hard blown criminal. He is a puckin tief.

    Farming requires upfront investment in each crop.

    That is why crop thieves deserve severe penalties and should be made to pay restitution to the farmer.


  • It is important to understand that the farmer has to wait until his crop is market ready.

    Some varieties of tomatoes take 2 to 3 months. That means no cash flow for about 3 months. Then along comes a crop thief ,,,,,,,,


  • @Hants

    Can you guess what is one of the headlines on the TV news tonight?

    Yes, praedial larceny!

    How many years have we been hearing the lament from officials?

    A couple months to go to a general election and we are hearing about draft legislation to support a system to attack the scourge.


  • Poetic justice would be to sentence the cassava crook to a term in Dodds where his expertise could be utilized. There is a field of cassava currently under cultivation there and he could bring his quick harvesting skills into full display.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Northern…that is why from Barbados to US….there is a call to get rid of the house negros….particularly those in Barbados’ parliament, because of their treachery. ..

    …..pèople have to do things and make sure they never find out to sell out…the house negro is a danger to all.

    re the marijuana business, Barbados does not have enough acreage for the greedy to prosper in that business. …so it is those who have already built their networks throughout the Caribbean will survive in that business….

    …..and they will not take kindly to minorities who helped demonize them for decades trying to hog anything or trying to tief anything…that is the reality.

    The can have the house negros, but that is all they will get.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Sarge keeps advertising this cassava growing by Dodds, they might not even be there anymore…lol


  • @David “theft of 80 pounds of cassava”


    The thing is cassava is very, very, very easy to grow. I myself grew about 1200 pounds last year and without much effort I am doing the same this year.

    Have the field ploughed in May. A small field will cost about $200. Plant the cassava sticks. The Lord will send his sun and rain. Add a bit of fertilizer from to time. The Lord will send more sun and more rain. Pull the weeds out. Harvest the thing 5 or 6 month later.

    Since cassava is indigenous to Barbados, the Arawaks and Kalinago have been growing it here for 3,000 or 4,000 years, it is highly adapted to this environment and real real easy to grow.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Simple Simon October 20, 2017 at 12:04 AM #
    “Since cassava is indigenous to Barbados, the Arawaks and Kalinago have been growing it here for 3,000 or 4,000 years, it is highly adapted to this environment and real real easy to grow.

    Be careful now SS, you don’t want to attract (again) the keen eyes of Artax in your ‘innocent’ attempts to mislead the BU readers with your misunderstanding of the ‘facts’?

    Like the ‘Potato’ (both sweet and bland) stolen by post-Columbus Europeans, ‘Cassava’ is a root vegetable indigenous to South America and was brought to the ‘Islands’ by the Amerindians as they migrated through the archipelago with “Ichirouganaim” (later ‘christened’ as Barbadoes), although off the beaten, still able to attract its share of visitors.

    Next time- as you stand away from the bus stop awaiting your friendly ZR driver- you might find yourself haphazardly arguing as a matter of fact that the sugarcane plant is also “indigenous” to Barbados just because of the ‘innovative’ work of John ‘Redman’ Bovell and his ‘unrecognized’ ‘black’ chauffeur.


  • It is interesting to observe James Paul participating in a press conference to share his view on the Straughn suggestion to privatize the Transport Board when agriculture has been steadily declining under his (administration) leadership. What is the priority? How should the people fairly judge his performance?


  • @millertheanunnaki October 20, 2017 at 8:07 AM “Like the ‘Potato’ (both sweet and bland) stolen by post-Columbus Europeans, ‘Cassava’ is a root vegetable indigenous to South America.”

    So if a plant has been grown in Barbados for thousands of years and it is still an immigrant, when may i ask will it become indigenous?

    I was in Queen’s Park yesterday looking at the baobob tree and there is a sign that says it is 1,000 years old but not native to Barbados.

    A question for wunna scholars. If a tree was hatched and grew up in Barbados and has not stepped foot out of Barbados for more than 1,000 years at what point does it does it become indigenous?

    That tree is more Bajan that me or you or any ‘o we.

    The nerve of some Johnnie come lately human being referring to it as an immigrant.


    G’night, miller etc.


  • A question for wunna scholars. If a tree was hatched and grew up in Barbados and has not stepped foot out of Barbados for more than 1,000 years at what point does it does it become indigenous?

    Is the Kangaroo indigenous to Australia?

    When did the aboriginies arrive?

    Are aboriginies indigenous to Australia?

    Everything started from scratch after the flood … nothing is indigenous … to anywhere!!

    Perhaps the Baobab seed first immigrated here in the flood or afterwards, from where, who knows!!

    Doesn’t get more simple than that.

    No scholarship involved!!

    The simple answer is … nothing is indigenous … anywhere in the world you happen to go!!

    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are really not indigenous at all!!

    They were descendants of the first immigrants to America.

    So, in conclusion, nothing is indigenous, everything and everybody is an immigrant, passing through on their journey through life.


  • Interesting to see that another southern hemisphere country has legalised Hemp.


  • Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, is calling on officials, and by extension the Government, to look at instituting a food recovery plan in the event of a disaster.

    Barbados is already experiencing a disaster. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to import food.

    Your “food-recovery-plan” is needed now.


  • Paul cant even get the hotel sector to procure its fair share of local produce. He should shut up and continue to do nothing.


  • David

    Spot on……As a member of govt unable to get your ideas passed either say nothing as Estwick at present or resign before being shortly put out to pasture.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Vincent Haynes October 21, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Just a bunch of motor-mouth hypocrites full sound and fury signifying nothing.
    James Paul’s favourite eating establishment just happens to be Chefette.

    What we want to hear from James Paul and the neutered pit-bull Estwick left with no balls but all squeak is their position on the decriminalization and local production of marijuana for medicinal and commercial purposes.

    How does the political pipsqueak Paul feel about the unemployed young men who are not members of any fictitious gangs in his constituency being sent to prison for the use of an ‘innocent’ herb in order to ‘kill’ idle time?

    Why not promote the local production of the herb as a profitable means of import substitution while providing the opportunity for the same young men to be productively employed in its cultivation, processing and distribution to really bring genuine economic enfranchisement to the same young black masses his own deceitful lying party likes to brag about and promote as only good for participation in the David Thompson Memorial Football Tournament under the influence of the imported variety of the same mary jane.


  • Thanks David.

    Caricom has CARDI and all govts have access to the UWI Tropical College of Ag. at St.Augustine as well as IICA,FAO and numerous resources from countries involved in Ag. from all over the world.

    All of the above have submitted requested papers on sustainable Ag. for Bim over the years…….go figure.


  • @John October 21, 2017 at 5:26 AM “Everything started from scratch after the flood…nothing is indigenous…to anywhere!!”

    Dear John:

    You are in the Scripture class and I am in the Science class.

    I am always a little wary of people who say that nothing and nobody is indigenous. Too often in history class it has been proven that such people are up to no good.

    Bye John.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.



  • You are in the Scripture class and I am in the Science class.

    I have done more than my fair share of science, and, ….. probably a lot more than you!!


  • American Heritage added a new photo — with John Alexander Pilling.
    8 hrs ·

    Drought Follows the Plow

    Before the European powers carved up Africa in the late nineteenth century, the rhythm of cattle herding and agriculture on the Sahel changed little from year to year. The casual observer of a herding community might assume that the constant movements of people and herds were almost haphazard. In fact, the elders discussed every move carefully and acted conservatively. They relied on a remarkably detailed knowledge of the surrounding region, its wate…Continue reading


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ October 22, 2017 at 1:18 PM #
    “You are in the Scripture class and I am in the Science class.
    I have done more than my fair share of science, and, ….. probably a lot more than you!!@

    Yet you want us to accept as a ‘scientific fact’ your strong belief in the Judeo creation myth of the planet called Earth and everything else in the universe made up of billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and zillions of planets are less than 10,000 solar years old and all made in 6 days by a omniscient, omnipotent supreme being from outer space called Yahweh who happened to have made the avoidable mistake of creating a most mentally vulnerable and physically defective thing called ‘man’ from which sprung ‘woman’ causing a the biologically impossible event to take place.

    Only one other idiot on BU accepts your ‘scientific’ assertion; Zoe, the other occupant of the bat mobile for religious nutters.


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