SEVEN YEARS after calling for praedial thieves to be flogged, Government Senator Norman Grant has had a change of heart.
"In this very chamber, seven years ago, I made a call for the Government then, based on the laws that we had on our books, to take the full punishment to those who continue to steal from our farmers," Grant remarked yesterday.
The Jamaica Agricul-tural Society president had tabled a motion in the Senate calling for farm thieves to be subjected to hard labour in prison and for them to be whipped in and out of prison.
His suggestion at the time was rebuffed by then Prime Minister P.J. Patterson who said, "No government led by me is going to restore flogging," adding that flogging is "reminiscent of a brutality that we want to put behind us".
"Let us deal seriously with praedial larcenists. Let us mobilise the communities to deal with them. But we cannot resort to brute force to do that which is wrong and that which is evil," Patterson said.
On Friday, Grant said his change of heart should not be seen as a tempering of his views about punishment for praedial thieves.
In the meantime, A.J. Nicholson, the leader of Government Business in the Senate, commented that "it is a good day today to note that he has relented and implicitly withdrawn the suggestion".
Both men were contributing to a debate in the Senate on three bills which seek to repeal all legislation making provision for whipping and flogging.
The bills were passed and have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.