Cabinet has set up an Inter-ministerial Committee to consider the report of the United States Department of State on trafficking in persons 2012, which downgraded Jamaica from Tier 2 to a Tier 2 watch list.
Making the announcement on June 27 at the Jamaica House press briefing, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, explained that the reasons for the downgrade include Jamaica’ s limited progress in prosecuting offenders; and the failure to implement a public education programme.
The committee is chaired by Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, with other members being Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson; Minister of Labour, Hon. Derrick Kellier; Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna; Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson; and Minister Falconer.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has given approval for the Committal Proceedings Act (2012) to be re-tabled in the Houses of Parliament. The Bill will establish a new committal proceedings regime to replace the existing procedure of preliminary examinations in cases of indictable offences in Resident Magistrate courts.
“The conduct of preliminary examinations contributed to delays in the criminal justice process, case backlogs and increased legal costs…This Bill had been introduced on a number of occasions, but had fallen off the Order Paper for a number of reasons,” Senator Falconer explained.
Additionally, the Protection of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Bill (2012), will be re-tabled. In March 2006, Cabinet had given approval for Jamaica to accede to the international treaty on plant genetic resources of food and agriculture, and issued drafting instructions for legislation to ensure compliance. The Bill was tabled in October 2011, but fell off the Order Paper in the Senate, following the dissolution of Parliament.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter