The House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 22) passed the six anti-crime Bills, which will aid the Government in its efforts to reduce crime and violence in the country.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding
The Bills are: an Act to amend the Bail Act; an Act to further amend the Firearms Act; an Act to amend the Offences Against the Person Act; an Act to amend the Parole Act; an Act to make interim provision in relation to the grant of bail in specified circumstances; and an Act to make interim provision extending the powers of arrest and detention under Sections 50B and 50F of the Constabulary Force Act.
They were originally considered by a joint select committee of Parliament in 2008, but, because there was no consensus between the Government and the Opposition on some of the provisions, they were withdrawn, redrafted and re-tabled in Parliament on June 1, to support the current anti-crime effort.
However, measures in two of the Bills were still contentious and at last Tuesday’s (June 15) sitting of the House, debate was postponed as the Government and the Opposition agreed to hold talks to arrive at a “workable agreement” on the legislation.
Among the controversial Bills is an Act to make interim provision in relation to the grant of bail in specified circumstances, which proposes that a person, charged with violent or certain drug-related offences, should be entitled to be granted bail only after the expiration of a period of 60 days, commencing on the date on which he/she is first charged, and only if the person satisfies the court that bail should be granted.
“That raised several issues of concerns and they were expressed both in the House and outside,” Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding told the House.
“We therefore re-worked that Bill to provide for judicial review seven days in the first instance and 14 days after that,” he informed.
The Bills, which were taken individually, were in the end passed 10 to 28 votes in favour of the Government.