JIS News

As Government continues to implement measures to curb crime and violence, a new firearm-licensing regime is to be introduced, which will involve the use of technology to improve the management of the licensing process as well as the national firearms inventory.
In addition, an independent central authority will be established to exercise more stringent control over the issuing and renewal of licenses and the Firearms Act will be amended accordingly.
Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, in his Throne Speech at the State Opening of Parliament today, explained that the new licensing regime was part of Government’s efforts during the new legislative year, to strengthen laws and regulations relating to public order and crime management.
As such, new regulations and amendments to existing Acts will very shortly be passed to govern the operation of route taxis and new measures will be put in place to reduce violent crimes involving taxicabs and to reduce breaches of the Road Traffic Act.In addition, there will be amendments to the education regulations and new policies related to guidance counseling and curriculum changes, while disciplinary measures will be adopted in schools to reduce violence among students.
In continuation of the fight against local and international criminals and in support of the worldwide thrust to combat terrorism, legislation related to the forfeiture of the proceeds to crime, terrorism prevention and plea-bargaining would also be adopted.
Sir Howard pointed out that efforts would continue to improve security at the ports of entry, noting “security at the airports and seaports has improved exponentially as a result of new equipment and measures having been introduced within the past year.”
He said that in terms of public order, “the citizens must assume responsibility for cooperation and compliance in those areas, which relate to us all. Therefore, as we introduce policies, which support the national effort, we will continue to engage in public consultations and public education related to the changes, which are to be made.”
Under the Restorative Justice initiative, the Government intends to give greater substance to the vision of a safe, just and equitable society, said Sir Howard.
The Governor General lauded the work of the Peace Management Initiative, Disputes Resolution Foundation, Jamaica Social Policy Evaluation Project (JASPEV), the Social Development Commission, and the United Nations Development Programme-sponsored Civic Dialogue programme, among others, which are dedicated to “building bridges, changing hearts and minds, healing communities and transforming lives.”

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