Champion farmer loses 14 head of cattle, 2 prized rams to gun-toting thieves
DAYS before the staging of the annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, six-time champion farmer Roy Jumi remains in despair after armed men invaded his St Catherine farm and stole 14 heads of cattle and two prized service rams.
The incident took place late Sunday night at the family owned Cherry Gardens farm in Gutters, St Catherine, and came despite increased efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture to clamp down on praedial larceny, which has been ravaging the country's agricultural sector.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, Jumi said he was heartbroken as Sunday night's incident represented a departure from the norm, as the criminals brandished guns, including a rifle, and roughed up and beat the watchman and a female employee.
He explained that the price tag on the 16 stolen animals is in the region of $1.5 million.
Jumi said he was informed that persons made calls to the police emergency number, 119, while the robbery was in progress. However, according to him, the police did not turn up until 10:00 am the following day.
Commenting on the incident, President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society Senator Norman Grant condemned the robbery and said it highlighted the challenges being faced by the country's farmers.
He also argued that this robbery gave credence to his recent call for praedial larceny to be placed under the umbrella of organised crime.
"I would say this brings into sharp focus the resolution tabled by me on Friday, which says praedial larceny should be treated as organised crime and not a petty offence. I also called for the establishment of a compensation fund for farmers and for the assets of praedial thieves to be confiscated under the proceeds of crime act," said Grant.