Cousins wants gun licences fast tracked for Jamaican farmers

Opposition spokesman on agriculture, Lothan Cousins, has called on the Firearm Licensing Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture to work together to fast track  firearm licences for farmers as the country grapples with the problem of praedial larceny.

The Member of parliament (MP) for Clarendon South West made the call as he made his contribution to the sectoral debate on Tuesday, pointing out that praedial larceny cost the country billions of dollars each year.

Cousins explained that thieves are often armed when they go to steal. 

According to Cousins, farmers should be given the opportunity to protect their crops and their livelihoods .

Farmer at work in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. ( Ann Powell)

“I can recall vividly as a child growing up in Clarendon, in the plains of Clarendon,  seeing farmers in my community going to the bush to tend to their cows and their goats and they had their shotguns over their shoulder. And there is a saying Madam Speaker, that in life the more things change, the more they remain the same,” said Cousins. 

“I am proposing, Madam Speaker, that the Minister of Agriculture and the Firearm Licencing Authority collaborate to fast track all applications of registered farmers currently before the authority,” he added. 

Cousins also proposed that the government remove the general consumption tax  from security equipment and surveillance systems that the farmers require to help them  in the fight against praedial larceny.