Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, has welcomed an announcement by National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, to advance the proposed Anti-Gang Legislation and amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Mr. Bunting, in addressing security matters Friday Feb. 21 Jamaica House press briefing, said that the Ministry will be revisiting the proposed anti-gang law, to ensure that “it has all the requirements to make a difference”.
He also indicated that the provisions of the Proceeds of Crimes Act will be expanded to facilitate the seizure of assets by facilitators of illicitly acquired gains, and the apprehension and arrest of high ranking and major players in the narcotics trade.
Commissioner Ellington, in his remarks at the same briefing, said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is “encouraged” by the move.
“We have repeatedly articulated a position that unless we have the kind of legislative support that denies gang members the freedom to move, operate and enjoy the proceeds of crime in the way they do, and to influence communities, then we are not going to be able to break the back of crime,” he stated.
He noted further that “because the gangs are large in numbers, they are very violent, they are motivated by greed, they are profit focused and they are adaptable, they will study our (police) strategies and they will plan new modus operandi to undermine the effectiveness of what we are doing."
Mr. Ellington said his faith in the legislative framework being advanced by the Minister is based on the effectiveness of this approach in other jurisdictions.
“We know it has worked very effectively elsewhere. We are anxiously awaiting it and we give our full commitment to the Government and people of Jamaica that, once we have these legislative support, we will exploit their fullest potential in a manner, which is respectful for human rights and human dignity. But it has to happen if we are going to really break the back of gangs and organised crime in Jamaica,” Mr. Ellington stressed.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter