The bush and wild trees surrounding the quarry in Collins need to be cleared urgently, according to Twini Payne, the farmer who was beaten and robbed at gunpoint on his farm last Friday. He said that, apparently, the men who attacked him entered and exited his farm unseen via that bushy quarry route and something ought to be done to prevent further attacks on him and others who live and work in the area.
Payne, whose doctors reportedly advised him to “take things slow for the week,” told OBSERVER media his attackers seemed to know the route very well.
He recounted that around mid-morning Friday, he went to his farm to harvest corn and saw “movements” between his crops, so he went to investigate.
“I saw movements in the corn field so I decided to see what was going on. I thought someone was there stealing, so I ran behind them and when I did that, I butt up with gun, they started hitting me, tied my hands with duct tape and demanded money. I had some money on me and they took all,” he said.
According to him, the robbers then took him into the bush “and threatened to shoot me and leave me there.”
Payne said that as the robbers prepared to escape, they started changing their clothing.
“One of the guys was dressed in full army suit, the other was in a jeans and blue shirt and they had extra clothes to change. They walked through the bush by the quarry in Collins. While they were changing their clothing I made my escape,” he said. The businessman said he sought help right away.
He said that the incident has left him shaken, and nursing several cuts on his head, behind his left ear, and there is clotting of blood under his left eye.
“All farmers need to get protected and to get licensed firearms … they (government) need to make sure that farmers and business-owners have protection. Antigua is not like before,” he said, while reiterating the need to “clean down the bush around the quarry because it is very important.”
He claimed that many “foreign” businesspeople have been coming to Antigua and obtaining firearm licences, yet many farmers do not have a licence to carry firearms. The farmer said he applied for his licence eight years ago and, to date, he has not received approval.
Payne, who is a young ambassador for agriculture in Antigua, said, “I wonder if they will wait until someone kills me.”
He complained that he is still experiencing pain in his head from the beating.