Geo. F. Huggins & Co., G’da Ltd and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) have partnered in an effort to bring an end to Praedial Larceny on the island.
The two have unveiled a new billboard initiative during the launch of Foodland’s new Food Club product brand launch held last week Thursday.
The new initiative will see one Billboard placed strategically in every parish throughout the country including Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Director and Executive Assistant to the CEO of Geo F. Huggins & Co., (G’da) Ltd, Anya Menezes-Chow Chung spoke passionately about the new initiative and the plight of farmers who suffer as a result of Praedial Larceny.
Chow Chung reminded the nation that farmers are fathers, husbands, as well as wives with enormous responsibilities and their livelihoods are often threatened by the weather, poor yields, trespassers and many more ills.
Stressing that farmers represent the backbone of the economy, the Director at the local company said it is the hope of Huggins and RGPF that the Billboards, which offers anti-praedial larceny messages, will play on the conscience of would-be criminals and offer the farming community some measure of protection.
She described the initiative as her company’s way of bringing the issue of crop theft to the fore, as well as highlight the seriousness of the issue while encouraging people to spread the message and to lend tremendous support to the police and in particular its Praedial Larceny unit.
Assistant Commissioner of Police and Officer in Charge of Operations at RGPF, Edvin Martin, said that he is pleased to be associated with the initiative and congratulated Huggins for making such a pro-active decision to address the scourge of praedial larceny which has plagued farmers for decades.
He sees the crime as posing a direct threat to the viability of the national food security strategy and a deterrent to farmers in their efforts to cultivate their crops.
According to ACP Martin, many farmers have abandoned their fields as a result of praedial larceny and the police force welcomes the initiative by Huggins to motivate them.
The senior police officer felt that the pervasiveness of praedial larceny is rooted in the ease at which the thieves are able to market and sell stolen produce without any difficulty.
ACP Martin indicated that Huggins has demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the praedial larceny problem with respect to the partnership with the police force.
He spoke highly of Huggins’ policy of purchasing produce from individuals verified as farmers or registered farmers.
The senior police officer believes that the placement of the Anti-Praedial Larceny Billboards in strategic places throughout the country will go a long way in building a coalition against crop theft and educating the public against the social ills.
ACP Martin pointed out that if other stakeholders and members of the public can follow along the lines of Huggins then this would go a long way in stifling the demand for stolen products from farmers thus resulting in a reduction in praedial larceny.
He urged Grenadians to guard against buying stolen products.
“Guard against receivers” do not provide the ready market for stolen praedial larceny products”, he said.
The senior cop urged the population to report incidents of praedial larceny and especially those they see engaging in the act, as well as those deemed as receivers of stolen products of farmers.
Over the years, farmers have been advocating for the implementation of several measures to deal with crop theft including the setting up of a special court to deal with praedial larceny and for more guns to be given to farmers to protect their products from thieves.