JIS News

A praedial larceny co-ordinator is to be appointed within the next four weeks, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, announced Wednesday (November 26).
He said that it will be a joint endeavour between his Ministry and the Ministry of National Security, where the co-ordinator will be stationed. The co-ordinator will be supervised by a body comprising representatives from both Ministries, as well as the Ministry of Health and the Attorney General’s Department.
“That person is going to be charged with the co-ordination and implementation of a series of initiatives, which we have developed, to look at the problem of praedial larceny, and come up with a number of recommendations to address the problem,” Dr. Tufton said.
“It will mean that we are going to be adopting a more holistic approach to confronting the challenge, because it is the biggest deterrent to investments in the agricultural sector, and it must be confronted,” he stated.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at a function celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) “Eat Jamaican” campaign on Wednesday (November 25) at the Denbigh Showground in May Pen, Clarendon.
He was responding to requests from the JAS for action to be taken to deal with the problem, which the Society’s former President and current First Vice-President, Senator Norman Grant, says is costing farmers over $4 billion, annually.
Dr. Tufton said the most important approach to the problem is tracing the origins of foods, and persons involved in trading must prove how they obtained them. The initiative will also include a public education programme and stiffer fines for those who are caught.
“Too often we treat praedial larceny as a milder offence. I believe that that distinction should not be made. It is important that the justice system treats with the problem in the manner that the problem should be treated. It is going to involve the entire police force, as opposed to special officers as we have done in the past,” Dr. Tufton stated.
He explained that the current receipt books system has served a purpose, but a review has shown that it could be made more effective with minor adjustments.
The Minister told the gathering that, with the entire police personnel, instead of selected personnel, working to tackle the problem, it will provide for better co-ordination in terms of surveillance, to catch those involved in the theft.

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