Harsher Penalties for Gun Crimes

Photo: Donald Delahaye Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, makes his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 06, 2016.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of National Security will be seeking to have the mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, trafficking and possession increased.
  • We want to create a wedge between the community and criminals who possess guns,” the Minister said.
  • In the meantime, he said more resources are being put in place to tackle the escalating crime rate, particularly in Western Jamaica, including Montego Bay.

The Ministry of National Security will be seeking to have the mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes, trafficking and possession increased.

Making his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representative on July 6, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, said this will be escalated depending on the type of weapon.

“Because the gun is featured in the majority of our crimes it must be given special attention. The minimum should only be reduced by the plea-bargaining process,” he argued.

“We will seek to have all gun murders classified as capital. We will seek this year, by better application of the plea-bargaining law, to reduce or eliminate the penalty, if credible information is given in order to retrieve a gun or to disrupt the trade.

We want to create a wedge between the community and criminals who possess guns,” the Minister said.

Mr. Montague informed that increased monetary reward will be given for credible information. “Psychology and soft talk can’t get through to these dog-hearted fellows. The victims and their families have rights and we will engage the communities not to glorify the criminals,” he added.

The Minister said that the police are targeting a 60 per cent clear-up rate for murders this year, and that the Government is strengthening the investigative abilities of the Force by making them more mobile, increasing training and reviewing the bail issue.

In the meantime, he said more resources are being put in place to tackle the escalating crime rate, particularly in Western Jamaica, including Montego Bay.

These include enhancing the Force’s intelligence network, expanding the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in the West, establishing a mobile reserve in the west, creating additional training space, and establishing a coastguard base.

“I say to the people, fear not, because steps are being taken. You have seen some positive steps already. More is to come.  I seek your cooperation, understanding and information. Let all good people unite and fight back. The criminals have united. We must do so too,” he said.

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