Police put praedial larceny on front burner
June 16, 2006
Police put praedial larceny on front burner

The Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, The Ministry of Agriculture, and the Legal Affairs Department are combining in a novel approach to solving some of the enduring problems facing farmers affected by praedial larceny.

The farming community is for the first in a long time being afforded a forum where they can have burning issues pertaining to the grievous act addressed.{{more}}

The three organizations have teamed up to conduct a series of consultations in the farming communities to solicit ideas and suggestions that will guide the process of further strengthening the existing laws on Praedial Larceny. At these meetings the aim is to also devise appropriate means for the prevention of loss of farm produce and other assets due to theft.

The first of eight consultations kicked off at the Peace Memorial Hall on Monday, June 12, with the final being scheduled for Friday, June 22 at Biabou.

“We recognize this as an important issue because it is at the centre of our economic development. We have recognized that in the rural communities a number of persons who have suffered at the hands of thieves are becoming reluctant in investing further in agriculture,” said Chief Agricultural Officer, Philmore Isaacs.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture views this crippling factor as a serious set back.

Isaacs said the various organizations were mandated by the Prime Minister to take the initiative to meet the public and sensitize them about the issue.

Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller, Chief Agricultural Officer, Philmore Isaacs and Crown Counsel in the Director of Public Prosecutions Office, Saboto Caesar, represented the three organizations at Monday’s consultation.

“I think it is time for us to get rid of this menace,” said Miller.

The Commissioner encouraged persons to desist from purchasing slaughtered stolen animals since this can lead to the spread of diseases, as these animals were not inspected.

Miller urged the public to assist the police with information as he made it clear that he does not want to be part of a police force that is not going to make the effort to assist the public.

Meanwhile Caesar pointed out this critical issue has been on the back burner for a very long period of time.

“It is very important that the farmers work together, hand in hand with the police and the Ministry of Agriculture in stemming this very uncanny tide which is creeping through our country,” Caesar remarked.

Besides staging the consultations, the Ministry of Agriculture has been exploring a number of ways to reduce the increasing levels of praedial larceny. One such measure has been the introduction of the farmer’s ID card, which identifies a bona fide farmer, and which would be presented to the buyer when conducting the sale of any agricultural produce including livestock. The Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging that no sale should take place without the use of the Farmer’s ID Card. This programme is on-going and would be promoted to the wider community to ensure its success. Consultations will be held in Georgetown, South Rivers, Mesopotamia, North Union, Biabou, Barrouallie, and Chateaubelair.