The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) (Amendment) Act, 2021, commonly called the anti-gang legislation, was tabled in the House of Representatives on April 28.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the legislation will provide an additional game-changing tool to the security forces in combatting criminal gangs.
“It builds an assault on criminal gangs and a reminder to the people of Jamaica that this government is and will continue to put in place all the necessary measures to undermine the work of criminals,” he noted.
The amendments specify additional offences for activities in which criminal organisations are engaged, increase the number of offences under the Act, expand the list of aggravating factors to be considered when sentencing an individual convicted of certain offences under the Act, and improve the trial procedure in order to protect the identity of witnesses for connected matters.
The report of the Joint Select Committee to review the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, 2014, was adopted in the House of Representatives in May 2020.
Dr. Chang said that the deliberations and consultations within the Joint Select Committee were comprehensive and engaged a broad set of stakeholders.
“Following the tabling of the report, the Ministry undertook the complex process of incorporating the recommendations in order to develop the Bill being tabled,” he noted.
Dr. Chang said that the Bill signifies another significant step in strengthening the country’s legislative framework for national security.