Sun | Aug 20, 2017

JAS says thanks to Commissioner Williams

Published:Monday | January 2, 2017 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) wishes to thank the outgoing commissioner of police, Dr Carl Williams, for his more than 30 years of service to the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the people of Jamaica. We especially hail him for his relentless support to the island's agricultural sector and the 250,000 farmers and fisherfolks.

For more than a generation, praedial larceny has cost the agricultural sector billions of dollars in losses. In recent years, it has been estimated to cost the farmers between $5 billion and $6 billion annually.

Immediately after Williams took office, he met with a JAS delegation to discuss the challenges and made a commit-ment to place praedial larceny as a priority during his tenure as commissioner. Having the police treating praedial larceny as a day-to-day police matter, the establishment of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and having the unit working with the Rural Agri-cultural Development Authority, the JAS and the farmers have been a game-changer.

The latest report is that there is 14 per cent less reported cases of praedial larceny since the unit was established and operationalised two to three years ago. It must also be noted that under his watch, there has been an increase in the conviction of thieves who prey on the farmers and fisherfolks.

COMPENSATE FARMERS

The JAS had hoped for the establishment of a Farmers' Victim Compensation Fund, where farmers affected would have been compensated within the framework of the Proceeds of Crime Act by bringing both the Agricultural Produce Act and the Praedial Larceny Act within the ambit of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The JAS expects that the Police Service Commission will move expeditiously to have this critical post filled as soon as possible, and we pledge our support to Acting Commissioner Grant, who we believe is very capable, and also to whoever will be the ultimate successor to Commissioner Williams.

We thank him for his service and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

Norman Washington Grant

JAS President