Residents recommend that investigation of GARD Center ‘clean-out’ begin at His Majesty’s Prison, while Potter urges those who can donate to do so

The Gilbert Agricultural & Rural Development Center (GARD) reports that it
was devastated by a break-in that took place over the weekend, when all its
appliances, equipment and materials were stolen – and residents say they are
outraged by the vile act.

“Our ac units, water fountain, some tables were taken. Every door was
destroyed,” the Centre advised the public in a statement. “Even our seedlings
and locally made soaps were stolen.”

The GARD Center is a leading training facility, targeting youth and women and
providing positive entrepreneurial and employment alternatives.
“We are here to support the vulnerable and provide training, so that these
folks are able to create a sustainable livelihood to support themselves and
their families,” the Center explains.

“Everything here was earned through project grant-funding and donations,
and we will have to work even harder to rebuild; but we will be better than
ever,” it adds.

Given the magnitude of its loss, the Center is counting on its stakeholders to
come out and support the agency in its building-back process, and it
encourages donors to call 463-4121 to pledge contributions and support.

“When you consider the number of people the GARD Centre has empowered
over the years, this is just terrible,” says Gladys Potter, the United Progressive
Party’s Welfare Officer and caretaker for Rural South. “This act should be
condemned by every right-thinking person,” she adds.

“With unemployment and under-employment affecting so many families –
especially single mothers – the GARD Centre needs our support to build back,
as it says. Therefore, the UPP encourages every business place or individual
who has the means to come to the assistance of this very worthy and
worthwhile Centre.

“When you’re down to nothing, every little contribution counts for
something,” Potters says.

Meanwhile, residents are particularly aggrieved at this robbery and the
attendant vandalism. Some say they believe this is the latest in the growing
practice of “cleaning out” homes, business places and institutions, and they
are convinced that the stolen goods are being shipped away quickly in

There is some suspicion about the timing of the robbery, as sources claim that
inmates from His Majesty’s Prison took part in training sessions at the GARD
Center for four days last week.

Accordingly, one source tells REAL News he is not making any accusations, but
he would recommend an investigation from the prison end.
He notes that many people believe that prisoners are able to leave the facility
at night; hence, he believes that some of them could have been sent to make
the weekend heist.

Last year, following a break-in and burglary at a major retail store on Market
Street, stolen cell phones were found among contraband at His Majesty’s
Prison, leading residents to believe that such acts are a routine practice at the