Thieves snatch $2 million in cattle overnight | News
A Sainte-Catherine farmer says he is considering quitting farming after thieves raided his farm on Sunday and stole 27 goats and four of his sheep.
Malica Reid, 45, said thieves also stole eight bulls from her last September. Another farmer, who operates on the same land, reportedly lost 50 pigs on Sunday. Reid said this latest setback, estimated at more than $2 million, put a significant dent in their pockets. Reid, who also plants peppers and okra, cut a crestfallen figure on Wednesday when THE STAR toured his five-acre farm which he leases from Sugar Company Jamaica.
“I don’t know what to think, I don’t even know if I’ll get over it. I thought about getting rid of the goats and trying something else. It’s very heartbreaking. You have to work long hours, do a lot of work the sun doesn’t forgive and then what happened you have to wait two, three years for a ram goat to mature before he can give you money back and then “bam “. I’m really thinking about leaving this company,” he said.
Reid, who is currently working on a doctorate in education at Delaware State University in the United States, also expressed his disappointment with the police, as he believes his misfortune could have been avoided.
“The location is sort of a one-way, one-way street. So I don’t think it’s beyond the police, especially the predial robbery unit, to randomly patrol these areas, because that would then have the effect of people saying ‘this is an area frequented by the police and so I won’t have as much time,’ he said. Reid said he thought the thieves had transported the animals in a Hiace bus early Sunday morning when no one was there. Unfortunately, it was the weekend when a private security guard he hired was off duty. Reid said THE STAR that his journey into agriculture began 12 years ago after he was suspended from the Jamaica Police Force.
“Being suspended from work, I needed something to do. My dad at the time had two pigs and suggested I try this. I took his pigs and took over his breeding. I then leased somewhere and then the Sugar Company of Jamaica was good to me and let me lease that land,” he said.He admitted that he developed a love for animals and farming , but cannot foresee enduring other incidents like the one on Sunday.
“I can’t keep suffering like this. People think farming is an easy business. But when you have to do so much work before you can get your money back and people come and steal it like that, that’s heartbreaking. that’s why I don’t buy goat meat on the road because I know what farmers have to go through and I don’t know if I’m buying from a retailer who got their product illegally,” he said. Until press time THE STAR could not get a comment from police as Chief Superintendent Christopher Phillips, who commands St Catherine South Police Division, said he could not speak at length on the matter.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr said his department will redouble its efforts to eradicate the scourge of praedial theft which continues to hamper “the growth and expansion of production and productivity” in the agricultural and fishing sector. Charles Jr, speaking at the sectoral debate at Gordon House on Tuesday, revealed the department had already opened a dialogue to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act to directly tackle and recover proceeds of predial theft from the offenders and other perpetrators.