Trelawny gets spe­cial unit to com­bat prae­dial lar­ceny

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIO­NAL - Leon Jack­son/Gleaner Writer

FARM­ERS TRELAWNY who have been suf­fer­ing at the hands of thieves are poised to get a re­prieve, thanks to the launch of Trelawny po­lice’s prae­dial lar­ceny unit at the Fal­mouth Po­lice Sta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Court­ney Tay­lor, the Ru­ral Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity parish man­ager for Trelawny, prae­dial lar­ceny is cost­ing farm­ers and the coun­try over six bil­lion dol­lars an­nu­ally.

“Over the years, prae­dial lar­ceny has be­come an or­gan­ised crime, it is a com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity,” said Tay­lor. “When six bil­lion dol­lars is lost, not only are farm­ers af­fected but also the coun­try’s im­port bill. I welcome the launch of this unit and I am con­fi­dent that it will re­duce the in­ci­dences, es­pe­cially in the South (South­ern Trelawny).”

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Gary Welsh, of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force’s Agri­cul­tural Pro­duce Pro­tec­tion Di­vi­sion, said the Trelawny launch is the sev­enth such launch across the is­land.

“The unit is work­ing … just re­cently in South St Cather­ine, 50 goats were stolen. Of that num­ber, 39 were re­cov­ered. You can see from this that there is some suc­cess, although we would like it to be more,” said Welsh.

‘TREAT YOUR RE­SPON­SI­BIL­I­TIES SE­RI­OUSLY’

In urg­ing the mem­bers of the Trelawny prae­dial lar­ceny unit to treat their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously, Welsh warned them that the unit as­signed to them is fit­ted with a tracker, which will make it easy for their su­per­vi­sor to check up on them at all times.

“Su­per­in­ten­dent Kirk Rick­etts (the com­man­der for Trelawny) will not need to wait on your re­port to find out where you were,” said Welsh. “Make the unit work and link up with the Farm­ers Watch Groups that Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Win­ston Mil­ton has es­tab­lished in the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties, and hold pub­lic-ed­u­ca­tion meet­ings so that farm­ers can be ed­u­cated on how to pro­tect their farms.”

One farmer who is over­joyed at the es­tab­lish­ment of the unit is Her­bert Bell, who has been rear­ing goats for 45 years.

“At one time, I had over 100 goats on my farm, but now I am down to just four,” said Bell. “I can­not keep up with the thieves. Over the years, I have lost over $3 mil­lion to thieves.

“At one time, there was an ac­tive prae­dial unit in the parish. When you re­ported a theft to the po­lice, the of­fi­cer in charge would visit ev­ery butcher to find out where they got their meat from. I hope some­thing sim­i­lar can hap­pen again,” said Bell.

Like Bell, South­ern Trelawny yam farmer Win­ston Smith wel­comes the for­ma­tion of both the Farm­ers Watch Groups and the es­tab­lish­ment of the prae­dial lar­ceny unit.

“At one time, farm­ers in this part of the parish suf­fered badly. It forced farm­ers into tak­ing jus­tice into their own hands. It is not bad now and the unit will help to fur­ther re­duce the in­ci­dents,” said Smith.

In his ad­dress, Trelawny’s Cus­tos Paul Muschett, who was once an es­tab­lished pa­paya farmer, said it was prae­dial lar­ceny that caused him to dis­con­tinue in that field.

“I lost valu­able for­eign ex­change from it,” said Muschett, who said he also thought about tak­ing the law into his own hands. “I thought about it and de­cided it wasn’t worth it. I am now a for­mer farmer.”

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