Laurel V Williams
The Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister pleaded with criminals to stop thieving farmers’ crops and livestock and encouraged them to plant and raise their own.
Kazim Hosein said it takes farmers months and years to mind and sell these animals.
“I am appealing to those intent on committing illegal activities to leave the farmers’ stock alone. Go mind your animals and plant your own .”
Hosein said the ministry staffers are working assiduously to address the unit’s issues and assured the public he was “on top of it.”
On Wednesday, the ministry’s communication unit said the minister has been working feverishly to strengthen the Praedial Larceny Unit to protect farmers.
One initiative is increasing the number of police in the Praedial Larceny Squad (PLS).
“The ministry is seeking to engage more officers in the medium term and continue to engage in discussions with the Ministry of Public Administration with the intent to hire 40 additional officers, in the first instance, to complement the current PLS,” the statement said.
The minister emphasised the importance of building PLS’ capacity, saying it is based on the availability of funding and the need for officers to respond to calls by farmers efficiently.
Hosein said the ministry is in the process of procuring three new fully- equipped vehicles.
It is anticipated that these would improve the ability of police to do patrols.
He added that despite the constraints, they are employing innovative solutions.
“Due to heightened illegal activity impacting our farmers, the PLS has been utilising its connections with the regular and municipal police and the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd police to respond and assist.”