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Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has said the Ministry will be seeking to accelerate its legislative agenda this year, as part of broader efforts to put a dent on criminal activity.
This will include lending support to the Ministry of Justice in advancing the five proposed crime bills through Parliament, the Minister said in his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday (January 22).
The five crime bills are: the Bail Act; Offences Against the Person Act; Constabulary Force Interim Provisions for Arrests and Detentions Act; Amendment to the Parole Act; and Evidence Act.
Other pieces of legislation falling under the purview of the Ministry, which the National Security Minister said will be pursued include: Amendment to the Firearms Act; Amendment to the Fingerprints Act, “to be able to hold fingerprints longer than the law now allows”; Amendment to the Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA) , “to widen the scope of provisions for the revocation of licenses of security companies and security guards”; promulgation of the DNA Bill; legislation for the electronic tagging and monitoring of certain categories of inmates; and amendment to the Corrections Act to establish Boards of Visitors for juvenile correctional and remand centres.
“We will be targeting these pieces of legislation because we hold firm to the view that, as a matter of policy, we have to provide to the security forces, an environment that is conducive to their acting more effectively as they carry out their operational responsibilities,” he stressed.
Turning to the twin scourge of economic fraud and identity-related crime, Senator Nelson said that this is a “rapidly growing area”, fuelled by the recruitment of technological expertise by criminal networks and collaboration with transnational gangs.
Noting that the Government is taking advantage of available international assistance to deal with this challenge, the Minister informed that as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, Jamaica can benefit from effective international co-operation in combating all aspects of organised crime, including economic fraud and identity-related crime, particularly through the mutual legal assistance mechanisms.
“A Memorandum of Understanding has (also) been developed between Jamaica and the United States of America (USA) to deal with one aspect of misuse of identification information to scam elderly Americans out of millions of dollars,” he informed.
As it relates to initiatives locally, Minister Nelson said that in addition to the recent passage of the Cyber Crime Bill in the Senate, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has a dedicated unit, which collaborates with commercial and other private sector entities to build knowledge and encourage co-operation in dealing with the challenge.
Senator Nelson also gave the Ministry’s undertaking to partner with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, to actively pursue implementation of the Proceeds of Crime Act, which he described as an “important legal instrument”.
This, he added, in a bid to strengthen the administration’s efforts to efficiently and effectively curtail the activities of individuals engaged in “illicit enrichment.”

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