JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding this morning (June 18) reiterated his commitment to the protection of human rights in the Government’s latest response to fighting crime. Mr. Golding, who was speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing held at Jamaica House, was resolute in his language on the issue of restoring peace and safety to Jamaicans, while ensuring that the new measures to be adopted by the police force would not infringe upon the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Mr. Golding said the safety of citizens and the issue of defending their rights and freedoms were not independent of each other, but that both concerns were critical parts to the equation of fighting crime. He said a careful balance was needed between the two in the effective response to crime in the country.
Additional crime fighting strategies that have been proposed include extending the period for which persons can be detained without formal charges being laid against them, while the police carry out further investigations. Also included are new restrictions on the granting of bail, removal of the need for a unanimous verdict in non-capital offenses to a majority verdict and, more expeditious authorization of interception of communication by law enforcement officers.
In light of the proposal to introduce new strategies and legislation to deal with what he termed “abnormal criminal functions”, Mr. Golding expressed his desire to meet with human rights groups in the island to discuss the “operational and transformational processes” that will take effect in law enforcement. He also wants to reassure these interest groups and the public, that the safeguards against abuse by the security forces that will be introduced will be carefully introduced and monitored.
Mr. Golding restated his commitment to deal with crime with greater accountability by renewing the confidence of Jamaicans in the justice systems. The Prime Minister said the aim was to restore law and order by strengthening the powers of the police while at the same time protecting the rights of law abiding citizens.