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JAS head wants stiffer penalties for farm thieves; special fund for victims

Published:Sunday | July 31, 2016 | 7:31 PM
Christopher Levy (second left), president and chief executive officer of Jamaica Broilers Group, shows one of his rabbits to Peter Thompson (left), acting CEO of RADA; Minister of Agriculture Karl Samuda (centre); and Senator Norman Grant, president of Jamaica Agricultural Society, at the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon yesterday.

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Norman Grant, is calling for stiffer penalties for praedial larceny.

He made the call against the background of some J$6 billion being lost annually to theft of agricultural produce and equipment.

The JAS president says offences under the Agricultural Produce Act and the Larceny Act are to be increased from a maximum J$250,000 to J$3 million dollars.

Grant says the current fine is not a deterrent to praedial thieves.

He is also proposing that the Larceny Act be redefined to include the theft of livestock.

He is also asking for a victim compensation fund to be established to remunerate farmers for their losses.

Grant also wants the Larceny Act and the Agricultural Produce Act to be placed under the Proceeds of Crime Act, so that if found guilty, offenders would not only pay for their crime, but also pay for the farmers loss.

He says the JAS is working with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries to tackle what he described as a 'wicked crime'.

Grant, who is also the chairman of the Denbigh Committee, was speaking on day two of the 64th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show now on in Denbigh, Clarendon.