JIS News

Five of the Bills listed as priority security and justice legislation are to be brought before the Houses of Parliament before July 31, 2005.
Making the disclosure at yesterday’s post cabinet press briefing Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman said the final report on the Bills had been presented to Cabinet and were now ready for tabling.
The Bills are: the Law Reform Notice of Alibi Evidence Act 2005, The Police Civilian Oversight Authority Act, The Committal Proceedings Act, The Interception of Communications Amendments Act and The Larceny Amendment Act.
The Law Reform Notice of Alibi Evidence Act 2005, makes provision that notice of intention to adduce evidence in support of an alibi, must be given to the prosecution by an accused person within 14 days of his arraignment. The Police Civilian Oversight Authority Act, serves to create a body external to the police force, mandated to ensure accountability, adherence to policy guidelines and the observance of proper policing standards by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and its Auxiliaries.
Meanwhile the Committal Proceedings Act, is designed to abolish preliminary enquiries, to create greater efficiency, reduce delays and effect compatibility with programmes for the protection of victims and witnesses. The Interception of Communications Amendments Act will allow for improvement of the system by which the security authorities can intercept communications by telephone a matter, which the Information Minister said, was of “great importance to the security forces.”
Senator Whiteman said for the Larceny Amendment Act, which deals with extortion and now provided a framework for the charging of persons engaging in extortion and an increase in the penalties applied, the amendments to the Bill would “make the offence more identifiable and create stiffer penalties”.
Meanwhile Senator Whiteman informed that the Evidence Amendment Act and the Firearms Amendment Act, two Bills in the priority list were not quite ready and would not make the July 31 deadline. He noted that while there was already a Fire Arms Amendment Act before the Parliament, the provision had to do with the means by which licenses were granted. He said other amendments were being further researched and would come at a later stage.