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Animal thieves target Skibo in Portland

Observer staff reporter

Monday, September 18, 2017

THE recurring theft of livestock by criminal elements in the Skibo community of West Portland has frustrated farmers to the point where reports are no longer made to the police.

In fact, the situation has caused some farmers to quit, while others are insisting that they will soon take matters into their own hands.

The farmers told the Jamaica Observer North & East during a visit to the small community last week that thieves have, in recent times, increased their illicit activities, slaughtering animals in “broad daylight”.

Francesco Carpenter told Observer North & East that, only recently two of his hybrid she-goats were slaughtered, causing him to lose $90,000.

“It affected me bad bad… Local authorities need to look into it. We have a local police patrol around, but you see there is a vast area and at nights we need more than one or two patrol. The last light for the community is at the entrance of the scheme.

“People tie the goats on the road side, people thief dem. People have dem on nearby farms and things like that and they steal them too. They leave skin and things like that,” Carpenter, who has been rearing animals for 15 years, said.

He added that whenever the incidents are reported the police give a receipt and urge the complainant to keep it in the event that the stolen animals are recovered.

“If you get ketch on the farm it could be serious. I have a boss who is serious, because of that him don't want to even to see anyone behind his pen and he's a licensed firearm holder. It can stir up something serious. You try so hard, sometimes 2:00 am/3:00 am a [morning] mi up a help with delivery. It's difficult in the industry, so when people come you have to defend,” the farmer said.

Mother of three, Delorana Gordon said she has had to give up on animal farming because her losses had become too great.

“I had like 20 goats. I tie dem down the ball ground and di man dem come in [and] thief dem out. I had goats that were in kid and dem kill dem leave the kid with the skin and gone with the meat and so forth, and dem thief other ones without killing them. Overall it's around 10 goats dem steal from me. And is not me is the only person it happen to in the district, several others,” Gordon shared.

The woman said as a result, she no longer has any interest in rearing the animals.

“Even now, to how dem do me bad lady, I don't have any right now. You know when you have things raising dem, dem come een like a part of your family, and you know when people do dem something deh it just throw you off. I had to sell off everything. And even since me sell off, other people with goats and cows go through the same experience,” she added.

And like Carpenter, she, too, has made reports to the police but the larceny continues.

“I go by the station one time. The first time them steal the goat, me go by the station and me never have information, cause although you hear people say a Tom and Dick and Harry, you cyah go off a hearsay. And a nuh outsiders, and the reason we know a nuh outsiders because where we tie the goat dem and which part them go fi steal the goat dem, is must somebody in the place weh know it,” she stressed.

She said other areas have also been targeted, including the nearby Spring Garden community.

Another resident, Shemaul Graham, told Observer North & East that his uncle has also suffered at the hands of thieves.

According to Graham, the animals are butchered on the spot and the lucrative parts taken.

“Dem cut out the cow belly and leave the tripe and everything pan di ground, and den dem leave and go with it in a motorcar. We report it [and] the police dem come but dem nuh see who do it so you cyah go point and say a this man or that man. All inna broad daylight, around 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock.

“As a community we just a hope and pray that we can get justice one day, cah dem a go come again one day. It sad seh when you take matters into your own hands a trouble that. You have you right and you lose it so we woulda waah the police do dah part deh; a fi dem work that. Next thing we go chop dem up or lick dem down and we end up go a prison. So we haffi know weh we a do,” the man said.