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Thieves target prison farm

St. John’s — Ironically, prisoners are not exempt from praedial larceny. According to a government official, 1,500 pounds of produce were recently stolen from the prison farm.

“We have not been insulated from the praedial larceny. We have lost animals … and produce … People do break into the prison farm and steal things,” Prison Farm Coordinator John McKinnon said at the launch of the initiative yesterday.

This is, in part, owing to the fact the 12-acre farm is only partially fenced. McKinnon said the safety of the farm would be increased when the fencing project is completed in 2013 and when eventually prisoners and security are moved onto the premises.

However, in his address at the proceedings, the Minister of National Security Dr. Errol Cort had a stern warning for thieves bent on “causing havoc” on the nation’s farms.

“We send a warning to them that we are not going to tolerate that type of behaviour. Where people work hard, sweat and tears, and find all their pumpkins are gone, that cannot be right,” the minister said.

Cort called for increased diligence from law enforcement to combat the continuing growth of crop theft throughout the country.

“We are going to ask our law enforcement officers to keep a closer eye on all of these farms around the country, where farmers are under attack from this vexing issue of praedial larceny,” the minister said.

Cort also lent his support to farmers saying, “You can count on me as your number one crusader,” when taking their qualms to government. He also called for all farms to be fenced nationwide, “withstanding the cost”.

In October at the launch of Caribbean Week of Agriculture, Minister of Agriculture, Hilson Baptiste, said that regionally 25 per cent of all produce and livestock are pilfered, annually. (Antigua Observer)

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