Name and Shame Campaign to clampdown on praedial larceny, says Charles Jr
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Publishing the names and photographs of praedial larcenists in the electronic and print media, are among the measures being contemplated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to stop farm thieves in their tracks.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, said the ‘Name and Shame Campaign’ is among a slew of measures under consideration by his ministry to help arrest the longstanding problem of praedial larceny that is costing farmers an estimated $5 billion in losses annually.

Charles Jr was speaking Tuesday in the House of Representatives while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate.

He outlined several other initiatives to tackle praedial larceny, including the following:

- Maintenance of a National Praedial Larceny database which is able to highlight and map praedial larceny hotspots, larceny types and frequency in collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Geo Statistics Unit.

- Creation of a training curriculum for the proposed Agricultural Wardens Programme to assist the police in carrying out enforcement activities.

- Facilitation of drone technology training for members of established praedial larceny units to patrol farming communities.

- Encouraging greater use of technology to assist with the securing of farms.

- Facilitating the establishment of farm watch/beach watch groups to build farmer/fisher capacity to reduce vulnerability.

Charles Jr told the House that one of the greatest deterrents to increased investments in agricultural production and the development of rural communities was praedial larceny.

“It not only hampers the growth and expansion of legal production and productivity in the agriculture and fisheries sector but encourages increased imports to fill the gaps,” he said.

The minister added that “too often we hear of our farmers losing their crops and animals and, regrettably, in some cases their lives to persons who want to reap where they have not sown”. He said the ministry remains undaunted in its effort to stamp out this scourge.

He disclosed that he has appointed four people to a strategic working group with diverse experience and backgrounds to advise him on strategies to combat praedial larceny. He said the ministry has also started the process towards amending the Proceeds of Crime Act to assist in the recovery of the proceeds of praedial larceny from offenders and other perpetrators.

Charles Jr shared that for the 2021-2022 period the ministry continued to create greater awareness and to strengthen the enforcement initiatives of the JCF in praedial larceny investigation, prevention and risk reduction. He said capacity building sessions were conducted with 101 police officers who received training in how to effectively investigate praedial larceny cases and prepare case files. This resulted in 102 arrests being made and over 70 animals recovered and/or returned to their owners.

“We will also be engaging in greater use of technology through the National Animal Identification and Traceability System with the use of genetic fingerprinting to reduce the larceny of cattle,” the minister said.

He said this will be facilitated through the use of forensic technology for the identification of stolen cattle in the absence of eyewitnesses.

And the ministry is also exploring a possible option of creating a compensation fund to assist farmers who are victims of praedial larceny.

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