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Farmers left in dark ... on scrapping of praedial larceny prevention post

Published:Tuesday | April 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

The post of praedial larceny prevention coordinator has been vacant since late last year when the agriculture ministry opted not to renew the contract of Reginald Grant, retired assistant commissioner of police, who had served in that capacity since December 6, 2011.

The ministry's decision not to officially advise farmers and other key stakeholders in the agriculture sector about this action has caused consternation and confusion, with many only learning about it by the way, after failed attempts to reach Grant by telephone to inform him about the theft of farm produce or to seek his advice on related matters.

Among those left in the dark were Crime Stop and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), whose members were actively involved in the investigation and prosecution of incidents of farm theft.

Prudence Gentles, manager of Crime Stop, told The Gleaner she had only heard by the way that the country has been operating without a praedial larceny prevention coordinator, and Commandant Christopher Murdock of the ISCF admitted that he had not been officially advised either.

In confirming Grant's dismissal, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, told The Gleaner the decision was in keeping with plans to "restructure the institutional framework or institutional arrangement for our praedial larceny initiative".

Stanberry refused to give specific reasons for the decision not to renew Grant's contract.