Yam scam plagues East End

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    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.

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    Farmer Alida Scott‘s huge Costa Rican yams were taken from holes just like this one.
    Photo: Jewel Levy
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    11 COMMENTS

    1. It is time for the community to get together and watch out for people stealing produce. Cant the police help? There must be some way. Maybe a few checkpoints to check vehicles for stolem goods.

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    2. It is absolutely inexcusable, dont get me wrong. But when one is stealing food, it is entirely possible that they are not reselling it, but eating it. I know of several cases where expatriate workers have had their hours severely cut back to the point where they can barely pay their rent — with nothing left over for food. And Cayman laws make it illegal for them to fish for their food. If people are starving, what are they supposed to do? What Cayman needs to do is to allow expats to fish, but put a quota (i.e. one fish/day and it has to be a certain size) so that these people arent forced to steal their food. Cayman Law has to be partially responsible for the stealing of food. You are not giving them any options — rent has to be paid or they are out on the streets. They are a victim of this recession. And no, they should not steal from the farmers — my guess is that its the easiest — stealing from Fosters is much more difficult.

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    3. Could the local neighbourhood watch or similar group organise a night watch with cameras ready? only needs one or two good photos of thieves and a vehicle number
      plate.
      In reality, surely someone knows who are the thieves – why dont they inform the Police? Why doesnt someone offered a cheap yam report it?

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    4. I would be very happy to buy any person begging for food … food. But whoever is doing this is stealing for profit. You dont steal 2/3rds of someones crop … because you are hungry.

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    5. I am a young Caymanian and I would warn others against blaming everything on outsiders.

      Somewhere along the way, the generations before mine forgot to teach their children the value of hard work and respect for others… They taught us that Caymanians are entitled. They taught us that we should bring in labourers to do the jobs we dont want to do. They taught us that we are entitled to jobs that we may not even be qualified for. They taught us to bulldoze our paradise and replace it with subdivisions.

      The people who are stealing crops might not be Caymanians, but they could be… and it would be because no one ever taught them the hard work that working the land God gave us requires.

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    6. Still cannot believe this…. why r you gonna steal from someone 70 years of age….
      did anyone ever teach you respect….
      This is just sad and an the lowest anyone can get…
      think about it…. may you be caught and given the maximum sentence…

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