Sat | Jul 2, 2022

Find another occupation, Charles warns praedial larcenists

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr (left) and State Minister Franklin Witter (right) greet winners Dermanique Lee of Chetwood Primary School and Kriston Ferguson of Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High School, of the Praedial Larcen
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr (left) and State Minister Franklin Witter (right) greet winners Dermanique Lee of Chetwood Primary School and Kriston Ferguson of Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High School, of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit’s Essay and Jingle Competition. The occasion was the awards presentation ceremony held on January 21 at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr is warning farm thieves to “find another occupation”, noting that praedial larceny will be one of the priority issues that he will be addressing.

Identifying praedial larceny as one of the greatest challenges in the sector, the agriculture and fisheries minister said it hampers the growth and expansion of local production and productivity in the sector and removes the possibility of farmers reaping the benefits of value-added production.

“We are going to come for you ... we are going to work with the farmers ... we are going to coordinate and make them cooperate together through farmers’ associations and farmers’ watch groups, and we are going to bring in the kind of innovation that is going to help us track what you steal.

We are going to target you, find you, root you out and make sure you do not deter any of these youngsters who want to be farmers,” Charles stated.

He was speaking at the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit’s essay and jingle competition awards ceremony held virtually on January 21.

“What we are doing today in getting our youngsters to use their mind in understanding the impact of this and to start to find solutions is critical to our human health, our food security and national development,” Charles Jr said.

ENGENDER AWARENESS

The competition, which started in 2016, aims to engender greater awareness of the devastating impact of praedial larceny on rural communities, public health and the Jamaican economy.

It is geared towards students ages nine to 18 and comprises two categories, an essay competition and a jingle competition.

Thirty-one students from 18 schools participated in the 2021 competition.

For the essay competition, students wrote on the topic, ‘Praedial larceny affects us all. How can consumers/the general public help to stop the continued theft of agricultural produce?’

Dermanique Lee, of Chetwood Memorial Primary School, St James, emerged the winner with Garcel James of Osbourne Store Primary and Junior High, Clarendon, and Jordan Dallas from Jacks River Primary School in St Mary, in second and third place, respectively.

The jingle competition challenged participants to compose a piece to include the phrases ‘praedial larceny is everybody’s business’ and ‘don’t support it, report it’.

First place was awarded to Kriston Ferguson of Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High, Kingston; Kahalia Savage from Mona High School in St Andrew placed second; and Rihanna Simpson of Papine High School, St Andrew placed third.

The main sponsor was the Jamaica Dairy Development Board. First-place winners received $10,000 in cash, a Kingston Bookshop gift certificate valued at $15,000, a Samsung tablet, a backyard garden kit and a plaque.

Persons in second place received $7,500 in cash, a Kingston Bookshop gift certificate valued at $10,000, a backyard garden kit and a plaque; and persons in third place received $5,000 in cash and a Kingston Book Shop gift certificate of the same value, a backyard garden kit and a plaque.

Third-place winners received $5,000 in cash, a Kingston Bookshop gift certificate valued at $5,000, a backyard garden kit and a plaque.