Harsher penalties coming for praedial larceny – Green
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Stiffer penalties and greater regulations are coming to curb praedial larceny, when Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Floyd Green, brings to Parliament an amendment to the Agricultural Produce Act.
Providing details at a Stakeholder Engagement Session in St Thomas, on November 15, the minister said that praedial larceny has been affecting its small ruminant programme and that there is urgent need for stronger deterrents to those who engage in the act.
“We are very aware at the ministry that unless we can work with the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) to get praedial larceny under control, a lot of people will not go into goat rearing. We have to do our part as Government and that is why come next week, I’m going to Parliament to bring an amendment to the Agricultural Produce Act,” the minister said.
The legislation deals with the transportation, marketing and sale of agricultural produce.
Minister Green pointed out that more needs to be done than just catching the thieves in the field.
“We have to ensure that the thieves have no market for their stolen items. So, we have to clamp down on transportation of agricultural produce that is being done without the necessary receipts and invoices, and if you can’t tell us where you get it from and show us, then the penalties have to be more severe,” Green said.
“Unfortunately, for a long time we’ve had penalties like $250,000 if you are found guilty of crimes under the Agricultural Produce Act. That is not a deterrent to anybody and as such, we are going to bring in harsher penalties for those who run afoul of the law in relation to the transportation of agricultural produce,” he added.
In the meantime, the Praedial Larceny Unit’s Superintendent, Oral Pascoe, made an appeal to farmers to report cases of praedial larceny to the police.
Pascoe provided data revealing that just over 1,000 cases of praedial larceny were reported in the last 10 years across all parishes.
Convinced that the actual number of cases is potentially far greater, he implored the farmers to make a report even if they believe that they will not receive their stolen property. He explained that with the information, the police are able to create a database for data mining.
“It tells [us] what is being stolen and where,” Pascoe said, noting that the information can be used to identify hotspots in order to strategically place police and wardens and set up patrols.