Gracelyn Cassell to Tackle Agricultural Theft in 2020 St. Patrick’s Lecture

Gracelyn Cassell speaks at the opening of the 2019 Alliouagana Festival of the Word. (Discover Montserrat Photo)

Praedial Larceny: A Scourge on Agricultural Production and Food Security is the theme of this year’s feature presentation at the annual St. Patrick’s Festival Lecture.

Slated for Tuesday, March 10 at 6PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, the presenter will be Miss Gracelyn Cassell, Head of the UWI Open Campus on island.

Poet and author Sir Howard Fergus will read from his new collection Man of the Match: Election Poems before the main discussion.

According to Wikipedia, Praedial larceny is the theft of agriculture produce. While such theft is almost universal, this term is primarily used in the Caribbean region where it is widely acknowledged to be a practice negatively impacting development of agriculture.

“The 2020 Lecture will explore the history of a problem that affected our enslaved ancestors in Montserrat and in the wider Caribbean and continues to affect us today. In many jurisdictions, praedial larceny is reported as being on the increase, resulting in huge losses for farmers, fishers and families. The search for deterrents and workable solutions, including the use of technology, has intensified,” explained Cassell.
The presentation will take the form of an interactive discussion intended to capture the experiences of victims as well as perpetrators of a crime that was once punishable by flogging. It is anticipated that realistic solutions will emerge from the discourse and can be presented for consideration by Government officials and policymakers.
Gracelyn Cassell earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Library Studies from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 1982, a Master of Arts Degree in Archives from the University of London in 1987 and the Master of Sciences Degree in Computer Assisted Management Information Systems (UWI) in 2003. She worked in the Montserrat Public Library from 1982 to 1997 and in the Main Library at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica
from 1997 to 2005.
In August 2005, she returned to Montserrat to take up the post of Resident Tutor and Head of the UWI School of Continuing Studies, now called The UWI Open Campus Site Montserrat.
As a result of her exposure to the information sciences, Miss Cassell recognises the value of research for effectively informing discussion, policy-making and action. While working as Librarian at the Montserrat Public Library from 1982 to 1997, she assisted with the provision of targeted information services to public and private sector personnel engaged in development work on the island.
She was and continues to be an advocate for the wise use of limited resources and not reinventing the wheel, which are two critical outcomes of conducting research for problem-solving. Miss Cassell has a number of research interests and has presented at conferences and published on subjects ranging from library experiences with disasters, off-shore tertiary education, tourism and festival tourism.
She is enrolled in the Distance Learning Programme in Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham. She hopes to investigate the potential of social media for reconstructing heritage lost in the wake of disaster.