Instead of planting the land on Corpus Christi, farmers, like most of the population, spent the day indoors in compliance with the 10 am to 5 am curfew.
Before the curfew began, however, Anirudh Narinesingh was at his hot pepper field along the M2 Ring Road, La Romaine watering his plants. While he understood the importance of the curfew measures, Narinesingh said usually they would plant tomatoes on Corpus Christi and he has 15,000 seedlings.
“But, the timing. We coming quite from Gasparillo side and is to come here, set up, you not getting much done.”
But his major concern is that thieves are targeting his crops during the curfew hours.
“A morning I come here I see umbrella, bag, clothes and thing inside the field like thief coming and sleeping here during the curfew hours, thiefing and then going.”
While he has been grappling with praedial larceny since he began planting ten years ago, Narinesingh said they had watchmen guarding the crops at night.
However, due to the curfew, the watchmen were no longer working.
“They say farmers cannot get no pass to be out during the curfew. But, I want to ask if they could reconsider and give us a pass.”
He explained that each week they would usually harvest forty 40-lb bags of pepper, but since the curfew they have been only gathering 20 bags. Narinesingh complained that the thieves were also trampling on their plants and destroying them. If his request is not granted, he asked for frequent patrols in the area during the curfew hours. He said they went to the La Romaine Police Post for help, but were told that there was only one vehicle assigned there.
Another farmer Deolal Bhagwandeen decided to plough his field at the M2 Ring Road before the curfew took effect.
“I really suppose to plant but I got the tractor late so I say we will plough the land today (Thursday) and plant tomorrow.”
Usually on Corpus Christi, he would plant sweet potato, cassava, eddoes and peas. Ahead of the curfew, a few people were seen at the grocery and the fish market at Kings Wharf, San Fernando trying to buy up last-minute goods.
The Corpus Christi holiday is one of the most popular planting days as it’s believed that crops planted on this day normally flourish as the rainy season progresses.