Senate Says Yes To Increased Gratuity Benefits To Dependents Of Special Constables


The Senate approved a resolution on Friday (Jan. 30), which seeks to increase the minimum gratuity payable under the Constables (Special) Act to dependents and legal personal representatives of Special Constables who die as a result of injuries related to their duties.
Leader of Government business in the Senate, Burchell Whiteman said Government had agreed to, under the Constables (Special) (Increase in Pension Gratuities) Order Resolution 2002, increase the minimum gratuity payable under the Constables Special Act from $1million to $1.750 million from October 1, 1999 and from $1.750,000 to $4 million with effect from April 1, 2002.
In December, the Senate debated a similar set of resolutions related to orders for other categories of public servants. Senator Whiteman explained that the Minister with responsibility for the particular public service, could by order, subject to affirmative resolution, increase the minimum gratuity payable.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Kern Spencer informed that his Ministry was in the process of reorganizing the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) in order to expand and deepen its role in maintaining public order. This mandate, he said, included responsibility for public order issues such as praedial larceny, illegal mining, public spaces, municipal vending, the Jamaica Tourist Board Act, the Town and Communities Act, the Offence Against Persons Act; the Dangerous Drugs Act and the National Solid Waste Management Act.
“In going forward, the ISCF will seek to focus on implementing the anti-crime and disorder strategy aimed at reducing crime and disorder, reducing fear of crime and disorder, reducing the cost of crime and disorder and enhancing quality life for all,” Senator Spencer told the House.
He further said that the ISCF would approach these tasks by identifying, targeting, consulting and educating residents and offenders, while building partnerships and implementing agreed solutions. He noted that in order for the ISCF to discharge its mandate, all efforts would be made to take the Force up to its establishment level.
Senator Spencer pointed out that the ISCF had made significant strides between February 14, 2003 and December 24, 2003. He disclosed that a total of 31, 808 tickets were issued for breaches of the Road Traffic Act, and that a month-by-month comparison showed an upward trend in tickets issued between February and September 2003, moving from 2,307 in March to a high of 4,693 in September.
In addition, he said, there were a total of 2,200 arrests for other crimes including 600 for breaches of the Jamaica Tourist Board Act; 308 for illegal vending; 369 for breaches of the Town and Communities Act; 241 for breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act; 191 arrests for breaches of the Offence Against the Persons Act; 39 for breaches of the National Solid Waste Management Act and 43 for praedial larceny. For the period reviewed, the ISCF operated at 85 per cent of its actual strength.

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