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Cayman Islands Government

Assisting Elderly Farmers

Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Conolly, JP (centre) presents plant material to farmers Alida Scott (second left) and Irvin Forbes (second right, foreground).  The farmers were recently predial larceny victims.   Others from left include: Department of Agriculture Director Adrian Estwick; DoA Farm Labourer Audley Chambers; Agronomist Raymond Coleman and DoA Farm Labourer Devon Stewart.

Ministry of Agriculture officials reached out to rescue two elderly farmers, recent victims of predial larceny. Unauthorized persons invaded the East End farm of brother and sister Alida Scott and Irvin Forbes, stealing over sixty holes of yam.

During an Eastern Districts farm tour on Wednesday (2 February) Minister of District, Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly JP, handed over plants and other materials to the siblings. This visit followed one made last week, when the Minister had inspected the looted area and had promised to assist.

The relief farm material comprised banana and plantain suckers; a lime tree; scallion plants and various pepper seedlings, as well as a chicken trap and fertiliser. Yam suckers are also to be presented at the start of the planting season.

Minister O'Connor-Connolly said that the supplies were the Ministry's way of helping the farmers get back on their feet, following their loss. She also called on the community to be vigilant in protecting farmers from predial thieves and other threats to livelihood.

"These farmers help to feed our families, the community and the country; we must do everything to protect their living," she said. The Minister also urged community members to remain alert for, and report, persons who are not known farmers yet who are seen selling farm produce.

A grateful 67-year-old Alida Scott responded, "We really appreciate the help. The Minister talked with us shortly after the incident, and this presentation of plants and supplies has encouraged us to go on.

"Our hearts were broken because what the thieves did meant a big financial loss. Even worse, it also prevented us from giving free produce to other residents and elderly shut-ins as we normally do," she said.

She emphasised that the gifts will do much to help her family on the path to recovery.

On Wednesday, the Minister was accompanied by Chief Officer Kearney Gomez; His Deputy Chief Officer Leyda Nicholson-Makasure, and Department of Agriculture (DoA) Director Adrian Estwick and other DoA staff.

Mr. Estwick noted that his department staff will continue to work closely with the sibling farmers throughout the recovery process.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes