Stiffer penalties coming for praedial larceny
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 Wednesday, the minister said that there is urgent need for stronger deterrents to those who engage in praedial larceny.
"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," the minister said. The legislation deals with the transportation, marketing and sale of agricultural produce.
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.
Head of the Praedial Larceny Unit, Superintendent Oral Pascoe, provided data that more than 1,000 cases were reported in the last 10 years. Convinced that the actual number of cases is potentially far higher, he implored the farmers to make a report even if they believe that they will not receive their stolen property.