Ministry of Agriculture  and Police team up
September 14, 2010
Ministry of Agriculture and Police team up

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force have moved one step closer towards establishing a closer working relationship.{{more}}

Beginning Monday, September 13, the newly appointed rural constables and agriculture extension officers began working together to directly address theft of agriculture produce and livestock -a chronic problem affecting farmers throughout the state.

A special meet and greet ceremony was held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Conference Room on Friday, September 10, to introduce the officers.

Chief Agriculture Officer Rueben Robertson said confidence in Agriculture will only be restored when the authorities are able to curb the incidences of praedial larceny meted out at farmers.

“This morning we are very pleased to have this initiation where we can have all those persons who will be working in the field to be able to understand their roles and responsibilities and to develop a working relationship that will go towards addressing the problems of preventing the theft or reducing the theft of farmers’ produce and livestock,” said Robertson.

He added: “We are getting the message that the farmers are looking forward to assistance from you, the rural constables and from you the extension officers: not only to come to assist them with the technology to plant but when there are problems that proper assistance is provided to ensure that the investigation that is done is accurate and adequate to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Three agricultural regions and nine agricultural districts have been identified across the state. At the ceremony the 19 rural constables, among the group seven males, met the extension officers who will be directly responsible for each division.

Minister of Agriculture Montgomery Daniel noted that it will not make any sense if the parties who should be working together fail to know the person that they will be dealing with.

“Today it is important that the relationships [that] the Ministry of Agriculture and the Police have improve tremendously,” said Daniel.

He challenged the rural constables to execute their duties as identified in their training.

Daniel added that the Ministry of Agriculture cannot allow its farmers to get involved in any kind of agriculture enterprise only to be affected by stray dogs, theft or diseases.

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, delivering remarks, said while the extension officers and the rural constables do their part, farmers also have to play an integral role in the fight against the problem.

“We intend to use the rural constables initially to go out in the fields with farmers and the extension officers to work on a daily basis. They will in turn feed back that information to us at the station when they return or even when they are out there and something occurs they can get the necessary reinforcement,” said Miller, while noting that the rural constables will be based at police stations.

Miller also used the occasion to disclose that police officers will be joining farmers on their farms at nights.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also having discussions with the Attorney General’s Chamber to establish the Stray Dog Act.