Govt to introduce new crime fighting legislation


The Government will be intensifying its efforts this year to fight crime and violence with the introduction of new pieces of legislation to strengthen initiatives and place pressure on criminal networks.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, highlighted this today (March 25) as he delivered the Throne Speech in Gordon House outlining the Government’s thrust for the 2010/11 legislative year.
“While there is a correlation between the contraction in the economy and the increase in criminal activity, much of it stems from criminal gangs that have embedded themselves in communities across the island and established highly organised networks,” he said.
“They must be rooted out and the security forces will continue their efforts through improved surveillance, better use of intelligence, detection and investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he stated.
Sir Patrick said tough anti-gang legislation will be introduced in Parliament this year to strengthen the powers of the country’s law enforcement agencies in order to smash criminal gangs.
“The Government will also be reintroducing the anti-crime Bills, which have languished for lack of consensus and will be asking Parliament to enact whistleblower legislation to encourage and protect those who can provide information on criminals and wrongdoers,” he said.
He continued: “The security forces need the support and co-operation of the populace. The populace needs the respect and protection of the security forces and they both need strong action on the part of the Parliament. The existing statutory provisions for dealing with crime were not designed to repel the kind of organised assault that is being waged against law-abiding citizens.”
The Governor-General further said that while priority will be given to these measures, it is hoped that a united approach can be taken to enacting the necessary legislation to strengthen the nation’s law enforcement capabilities.
“We must send a clear signal not only that crime does not pay but that it is the criminals who must pay,” he argued.
Sir Patrick further pointed out that while the government works to strengthen its fight against crime, it is also mindful that the rights of citizens must be protected and “that it is only in circumstances where it is so required in the national interest and, even so, in strict accordance with the provisions of law that those rights may be abridged.”
He said Parliament recently passed landmark legislation to establish the Independent Commission of Investigations to be responsible for investigating instances of possible and alleged abuse of citizens’ rights by agents of the State including members of the security forces.
Sir Patrick further said it was regrettable that the Charter of Rights Bill, which was debated by the House of Representatives, did not achieve passage before the prorogation of Parliament.
The government and the opposition, he said, have agreed to act with dispatch to pass this Bill in this legislative session along with the appropriate measure to address the issue of capital punishment. The Charter of Rights, which will strengthen and protect the rights of every citizen, has been under deliberation for almost two decades.
“We owe it to our citizens to deliver on that promise this year,” the Governor- General stated.

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