JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, wants law enforcement authorities to get tougher on praedial larcenists.
He told a July 8 Post-Cabinet Press Briefing at Jamaica House that almost $5 billion is lost each year through farm theft and stressed that the issue should be treated as priority.
Dr. Tufton informed that he has already met with Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, the Attorney General’s Office, and the police and military high command, to discuss the way forward, and the measures outlined to deal with praedial larceny will be announced shortly.
However, he disclosed that a major thrust will be towards setting up an animal identification system and the registration of farmers.
Describing praedial larceny as a type of organised crime, Dr. Tufton said: “My encouragement to the enforcement agencies is that it must be treated as you would treat organised crime.”
He also indicated the need for more police personnel to be assigned to address the problem, and for routine inspection of trucks carrying produce and livestock, in the same manner that motorists are checked for documents. “Every policeman should be involved, not just a few policemen who are assigned with motorbikes to travel around and to check farms,” he stated.
The Agriculture Minister noted further that when offenders are brought before the courts, “and are tried, and are given a fair hearing, and are found to be guilty, they should be treated no differently from someone, who robs a bank, because the grief that is felt by the farmer when he loses his assets, is no different from the grief that is felt by an investor who loses his money when a bank is robbed.”

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