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Several statutes, which have not been adhered to over the years, will be put into force as the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry continues its drive to crack down on farm thieves.

This includes a permit system for the slaughter of animals and stipulations as to when a person can carry out such activities.

This was announced at a post-Sectoral Debate press conference by portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, at the Ministry’s Old Hope Road location on May 9.

Meanwhile, Praedial Larceny Prevention Co-ordinator, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Reginald Grant, explained that the Livestock Control Order was enacted in 1946 and was last amended in 1973. However, with the passage of the Public Health Butchers Regulation in 1989, the permit system issued by the local authority was withdrawn.

“Butchers took it for granted (and) some would not report to the police station, prior to slaughter, but this Livestock Control Order makes provision for butchers to give notice in writing to the police, twelve hours before slaughter, of the date, place and time of which he is going to slaughter animals. We want to re-introduce that in this coming year,” he said.

Additionally, the Order prevents butchers from slaughtering livestock intended for food, between sunset and sunrise; and states that no heifer should be slaughtered without the written permission of the veterinary division, or the Minister of Agriculture.

For his part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry, pointed out that in order to invoke legal provisions such as these, which have been dormant for many years, it requires some amount of reconfiguration in terms of institutional arrangements.

“For instance, if we are going to ask people to report to the police, if we are going to ask purveyors of agricultural goods to get licences, it means that we would have to bolster the capacity of our plant quarantine people,” he said.

Mr. Stanberry indicated that these changes are on track, and pointed out that there has been a strong focus on sensitizing the police and the judiciary to take the problem of praedial larceny more seriously.

“We have achieved measured success in that regard. In St. Thomas and St. Elizabeth, for example, there were numerous successful incidents of capture and prosecution of people involved in praedial larceny,” he noted.

Contact: Alphea Saunders