Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed

Felicity farmers are set to have a gloomy Christmas, as they claim they are being targeted and attacked by bandits.

Compounding the woes they say, is that their cries to the police appear to be “falling on deaf ears.”

Guardian Media was told by a farmer in the area that he and his farmers are being attacked and robbed of their crops and tools on a daily basis and the situation is worsening.

He claimed that any hope for justice may not come, since he alleged the police are not doing anything about their reports.

One farmer said the latest incident occurred on Monday, when a farmer and his two workers were beaten and robbed.

“The bandits came and beat up the farmer and his two workers and they took away all their tools. They came with gun too.

“I, myself, plant two acres of peppers and me ain’t get to reap it. They thief it out. The neighbour by me, they break open his camp and take all his tools. A fella fence around his place, spending $60,000 with nice iron posts and wire and they come in the night and cut away everything and roll up the wire and gone with it,” the farmer said.

He said farmers are very scared, even to go into their own farmlands.

Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed said he is aware of the farmers’ plight and is upset at the response of those in authority.

“It is hypocritical of the Government to boast that they have made large investments in agriculture, when today farmers have to suffer at the hands of criminals.”

The mayor admitted he has received numerous complaints from farmers about the theft of crops and farming equipment.

“These farmers give yeoman service to Trinidad and Tobago. The Government must do more to protect our farmers. I call upon the Minister Clarence Rambharat to ensure that the Praedial Larceny Unit is properly resourced to give farmers the much-needed protection they need,” Mohammed said.

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally also confirmed that several farmers, many businesses and people within the constituency are being targeted.

He said around this time last year, there was a spate of crimes mainly in Felicity but other communities were affected.

“Even my constituency office was attacked by armed robbers. It is a problem which is escalating but when you talk to the officials in Government, they always profess to having the answers already and carry on making empty promises,” Rambally said.

“I support my colleague MP Charles when he said that the police service is rudderless. I sympathise with the police officers at this time. They have no direction and they continue to suffer from lack of resources.”

He added, “I also ask my constituents to take their utmost care in conducting their business and to be very alert to the increasing criminal activities around them. We all have to unite during this upcoming season and to be our brother’s keeper.”

In 2020, Felicity and Charlieville residents called for permanent police posts to be set up in their communities to deal with an increase in robberies, burglaries and other crimes.

Their appeals caught the attention of Mayor Mohammed and MP Rambally. The mayor said then that he spoke with Senior Supt Kirt Simon and was told there are plans to increase police patrols in the areas.

Mohammed said then he had also arranged for municipal police to do patrols between midnight to 5 am using two new vehicles they were to acquire.