Laws to Be Strengthened to Fight Crime

Photo: Donald De La Haye Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, delivers the Throne Speech at the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament at Gordon House. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • The Government will be seeking the approval of the Houses of Parliament for a number of legislative measures designed to improve crime-fighting efforts and better enable law-enforcement agencies to interdict criminals.
  • Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, provided the details during the Throne Speech in Parliament, today (February 15), marking the ceremonial opening of the 2018/19 session.
  • The Governor-General said focus will also be placed on the merger of the Police Services Commission and the Police Civilian Oversight Authority, which will require amendments to the Constitution that relate to the Police Services Commission.

The Government will be seeking the approval of the Houses of Parliament for a number of legislative measures designed to improve crime-fighting efforts and better enable law-enforcement agencies to interdict criminals.

Chief among these are the Police Service Act, which will replace the Constabulary Force Act, to provide for the modernisation and transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force into a contemporary, intelligence-led police service that ensures citizen security, with stronger systems of administration, management and internal discipline.

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, provided the details during the Throne Speech in Parliament, today (February 15), marking the ceremonial opening of the 2018/19 session.

His address outlines the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government in the new fiscal year, which begins on April 1. It was delivered under the theme ‘Continuing on the Path to Prosperity’.

The Governor-General said focus will also be placed on the merger of the Police Services Commission and the Police Civilian Oversight Authority, which will require amendments to the Constitution that relate to the Police Services Commission.

Also, the Government will be amending the Firearms Act, by making provisions relating to (a) the establishment of criminal offences pertaining to the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, in keeping with Jamaica’s international obligations; (b) effective control and security measures, including the disposal of firearms, in order to prevent theft and diversion to usage in criminal activities; and (c) ensuring that the revised Firearms Act is compatible with international standards and obligations of the Government of Jamaica.

The Finger Prints (Amendment) Act will also be tabled, to strengthen the forensic investigative powers and capacity of law-enforcement agencies.

“One of the proposed amendments include a provision to allow the taking of fingerprints from objects left in public spaces,” the Governor-General said.

The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act (POCA) is also to be brought to the Houses of Parliament.

The main purpose of the amendments to POCA is to ensure compliance with the recommendations emanating from the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce Mutual Evaluation of Jamaica, conducted in 2016, as well as to update the Act for greater effectiveness. In addition, regulations will be developed for the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS) to guide the use of the funds recovered for national development.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act will be reviewed in accordance with legislative requirements to review same within three years of its enactment.

The Governor-General also informed of the proposed tabling of the Parole (Amendment) Act, which will update, modernise and strengthen the legislation to bring it in line with current trends, international standards and best practices.

Amendments are also to be made to the Immigration Restriction (Commonwealth Citizens) Act, Aliens Act, and the attendant regulations. The proposed amendments seek to focus on stricter penalties, giving the immigration officer more robust authority; and the use of an automated Border Control System, among other things.

The Government will also bring the Corrections (Amendment) Act, as it seeks to update and strengthen the law and make it more aligned to current trends.

“The provisions will include a new definition of communication that takes into consideration modern technological advances and increases in existing penalties for breaches,” the Governor-General informed.

The Justice Protection (Amendment) Bill will also be tabled to strengthen the Government’s capabilities and effectiveness for the provision of services to protect witnesses.

“In addition to the legislative measures, the Government will continue to focus on strengthening its administrative and technological capabilities, crime-prevention and community safety measures and rehabilitation and redemption,” the Governor-General added.

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