The fight against praedial larceny in St. Elizabeth received a major boost on August 20, when a new 2015 Toyota Hilux Pick-up, valued at $4.9 million, was handed over to the St. Elizabeth Agro Enforcement Team.
The vehicle, which was presented by President of BMR Jamaica Wind Limited, Mr. Bruce Levy, at the Malvern Police Station, is expected to help reduce praedial larceny in the parish.
Addressing the ceremony, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said that farmers across the country must be given every assistance, “as criminals are now moving into the area of agricultural larceny.”
“It is good that those who are working hard and are passionate about serving, protecting and reassuring the citizens of St. Elizabeth, are encouraged and rewarded by being given this important piece of equipment to continue their work. It is very important that we give every support to the Police in this effort … or else we won’t be having a vibrant agricultural sector for very long,” the Minister said.
He informed that there are 230,000 farmers operating across Jamaica and apart from the overall economic contribution of agriculture, it is an important contributor to the social welfare of the country.
“If these persons were to leave farming now, they would certainly be challenged to find alternative occupations to support their families. The good news is that with the national effort with the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit, based at the Ministry of Agriculture’s head office, we are starting to make inroads into the organized criminal enterprises that focus on praedial theft,” the Minister argued.
Mr. Bunting said he is confident that the St. Elizabeth police will not only disrupt and dismantle the networks, but reverse the negative impact of praedial larceny on farmers and their families.
Meanwhile, Commanding Officer for the parish of St. Elizabeth, Superintendent Lanford Salmon, expressed appreciation to BMR Jamaica Wind Limited for the gift of the new pick-up.
He said the team is now better positioned to protect the farmers of the parish and to “bring about significant reduction in praedial larceny activities in St. Elizabeth.”
By Glenis A. Rose