East End farmers are left holding knobs, remnants of huge Costa Rican yams and other produce after thieves denied them the fruits of their labour.
What makes these acts against the farmers so deplorable and sad, remarked Community Relations Officer Delmira Bodden, is that some of these farmers have no other source of income to feed their families.
“It is their livelihood. These people came up in a time of togetherness and unity and are always willing to share. As a community officer, I know how hard they work to create a living from the land for their families. I think people have to respect that. Some of these farmers are over 70 years of age. They work hard in the hot sun, are physically ill, travel miles to get to their plantations and to have them stolen; that is hard. People need to know they are not doing this as a pleasure activity, but to actually survive,” she said.
Eastern Districts Area Commander Marlon Bodden Jr. said handling stolen goods is an offence.
“Knowing that the items are stolen should encourage people not to purchase these items. Most people in Cayman should by now have an idea of who does farming and vendors getting goods at a bargain should make sure they are legit. One can get up to 14 years in prison for handling stolen goods and be charged with theft,” said Mr. Bodden.
Ervin Forbes, 70, has a plantation in Little Bluff off Queens Highway. He travels a long way from his home on Quantum Drive to get to his ground.
“They only left me with 14 hills of yams out of 60,” lamented Mr. Forbes. “I have been missing stuff from the farm for years, but this time they took the whole lot. Some of those yams were bursting out of the ground they were so big. “I have to work so hard to get what I grow.
Sometimes I have to get on my hands and knees to plant the yams because of my hip. One time they took all the bananas and plantains and left me with two red bean pods on a tree.”
Alida Scott has been farming since the age of seven and at 67 years of age it ias her only income along with the little fishing she does.
“I had different breeds of yams in the ground, but my prized ones were the Costa Rican yams,” said Ms Scott.
“We are not mean people. If someone wants some, we will give. Most of the produce I use to feed myself and the excess I give to others in the community, which is the old Cayman way of life,” she added.
Ms Scott and others are also concerned about the amount of coconuts being taken from the community.
“They are coming up and load up trailers and take away all the coconuts. I have even noticed where some trees have been chopped down to get at the coconuts,” said Ms Scott.