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January 18, 2014
Star News


Strengthening of praedial-larceny law proposed

JIS PHOTO - Daryl Vaz

Persons found in possession of agricultural produce, for which they have no receipt or invoice, may face hefty fines if recommendations put forward by the Economy and Production Committee of Parliament, for strengthening the praedial larceny law, are adopted.

At a meeting at Gordon House on Tuesday, committee member Daryl Vaz noted that the end-user is not charged or fined if they are found with goods and without an invoice.

He argued, however, that if they are now liable to be fined or charged, that "will force them to insist that the farmer, who they are buying from, legitimises themselves by issuing them a receipt to protect them".

"The commencement of this legitimisation starts with the farmer but encompasses the end-user, who is not currently (included) and, therefore, it will force me to tell (the farmer) that he will have to give me a receipt for the (goods), just in case they (inspectors) come to my establishment," he said.

Committee member and opposition spokesperson on agriculture and fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson, said where he agreed that the end user should be charged, the farmer, on the other hand, should not be penalised.

receipt for goods

Farmers are charged up to $250,000 if they fail to produce a receipt for goods.

"Instead of pressuring the farmer, turn it around and pressure the end-user, where the end-user can be charged up to $1m. When that user sees that he has to get a receipt from the farmer, he is going to make sure he gets the receipt.

"What happens now is the farmer is the one that is charged, the end user isn't charged anything at all. So we move it from the farmer. If the end-user cannot produce a receipt, then he is charged $1m," he said.

The committee further recommended that the fine for farmers be reduced to $100,000.

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