JAS urging gov't to review legislation that protect farmers
KINGSTON, Jamaica… February 20, 2017

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) is calling for the Government of Jamaica to review several key pieces of legislation it believes are critical to the protection of the Jamaica's farmers.

JAS President Norman Grant said the agency wants the Agricultural Product, Praedial Larceny and Trespass Acts to be brought under the framework of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He said this will provide better protection for farmers against praedial larceny.

"When we catch a praedial thief and they go to court and the court makes a judgement, then by that judgement alone, the assets of the praedial thief should be seized by the State...and that money should (be used) to set up a victim compensation fund to support the farmers who have been affected," he argued.

It is reported that local farmers lose as much as $6 billion annually to praedial larcenists.

Meanwhile, the JAS also wants a review of the Trespass Act.

"When you catch a man on your farm now, you can't arrest him. You have to catch him leaving the farm with property from the farm, and we really think that that in 2017 needs immediate consideration for revision so we are also putting that on the table," said Mr. Grant.

He said the JAS also recommends that a special district constable be trained by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to support the National Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit.

The unit is currently headed by Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis.

Mr. Grant said the JAS will be seeking a meeting with National Security Minister Robert Montague on the matter.

The JAS along with representatives from the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) recently met with Acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant to discuss their concerns.