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Jamaica Observer, Kingston, 1 August 2005
'Flog people who steal from farmers'
Senator says praedial larceny costing $4 billion annually
By Kerry McCatty
Incensed that farmers are losing an estimated $4 billion annually in crops to thieves, Senator Norman Grant, the president of the farmers' umbrella group, says that praedial larcenists should be flogged.
"We serve notice today on all those in the countryside who continue to reap where they have not sown," Grant said in his official address on day two of the 53rd staging of the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon.
"I don't really want to get in trouble with the human rights people, they call it corporal punishment," Grant said. However, he was firm in his view that people caught stealing farmers' goods should get a whipping.
Grant's proposal is likely to draw flak from human rights groups who have long regarded flogging as a barbaric reminder of slavery.
Flogging was abolished in Jamaica in December 1998 by the Court of Appeal in a ruling in the case of a labourer, Noel Samuda.
Samuda was convicted of rape and burglary and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was also to receive 12 strokes with a tamarind switch.
But the Appeal Court, in a four to one decision, ruled that the law allowing flogging had expired after World War Two and that Jamaica's constitution did not allow whipping.
At the time, well-known human rights attorney, Dennis Daley, who was on Samuda's defence team, welcomed the ruling and was quoted by a Reuters report on the case as saying: "The retention of whipping and flogging has been like a sore on our backs all these years. It's like a yoke has been lifted from the psychology of the Jamaican people."
Yesterday, Grant, a government senator, said he would also be proposing amendments to the Praedial Larceny Act that would provide for farmers who are victims of praedial larceny to be reimbursed.
Jamaica Observer, Kingston, 2 August 2005
PM says no to flogging of praedial thieves
By Kerry McCatty
DENBIGH, Clarendon - Prime Minister P J Patterson yesterday openly denounced a proposal from president of the Jamaica Agriculture Society (JAS) Senator Norman Grant that praedial thieves be flogged.
"No government led by me is going to restore flogging," said Patterson in addressing yesterday's final day of the annual Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon. Flogging, said the prime minister, is "reminiscent of a brutality that we want to put behind us".
On Sunday, Grant - a senator in Patterson's ruling People's National Party - citing a $4 billion per year loss to thieves, told Saturday's staging of the Denbigh show that praedial larceny had become too serious a problem and called it a cancer in Jamaica's agricultural sector. He said people caught stealing goods from farmers should get a whipping.
But yesterday the prime minister was firm that nothing could justify the reinstatement of flogging which was abolished in 1998.
"Let us deal seriously with praedial larcenists. Let us mobilise the communities to deal with them. But we cannot resort to brute force to do that which is wrong and that which is evil," Patterson said.
Grant said Saturday that he had planned to make a proposal that the Praedial Larceny Act be amended to make it lawful for those who steal farmers' goods to be beaten upon conviction. Yesterday, however, he refused to say whether he planned to continue with the proposals after the prime minister's speech.
"I have my own views, but I heard the prime minister," said Grant.
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