Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has described as "disturbing and disgraceful" the level at which praedial larceny is negatively impacting the efforts of hardworking farmers, describing farm thieves as vultures.
"I condemn the action of those criminals who wait like hungry vultures for the moment to pounce on and steal the product of the hard-working and industrious farmers. I condemn the merciless robbery of the means of survival of small farmers and the prospect for any profit by larger farmers," Sir Patrick told the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show on Sunday.
He went on to charge that the law must provide appropriate punishment and penalties for praedial criminals, even though he did not go into specifics. He challenged well-thinking Jamaicans to unite to counter the efforts of criminal elements.
Said he: "We are a nation who have shown greatness in so many ways. Let this generation resolve not to sink under the weight of mediocrity but to strive for excellence so that we may bequeath to future generations a land and history of which they will be proud."
The governor general reminded his audience that though the memory of slavery under the plantation system in the days of 'King Sugar' is indelibly etched in our minds, today we must honour and reaffirm the value and importance of the agricultural sector and the dignity of all persons involved in or employed in the sector.
Speaking on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's political anniversary, he challenged policymakers to convert the results of scientific research into innovative and lucrative business, charging that there is a need for better support mechanisms such as financing, technological inputs and marketing.