Eyes on crime
The Andrew Holness administration has singled out the reduction of crime as its most urgent priority this year, with the murder toll continuing to rise sharply since the start of 2017 when compared with the similar period last year.
In presenting the Throne Speech in Gordon House yesterday, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen acknowledged that the administration's thrust to achieve economic growth and job creation can only be realised if crime is drastically reduced.
"The security of our country must be comprehensively and strategically addressed," Sir Patrick told members of the legislature during yesterday's ceremony to mark the beginning of the new parliamentary year.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced some measures to assist the security forces in the fight against crime, particularly domestic murders and incidents of sexual abuse against the nation's children.
The Government has committed to modernise and transform the police force into an intelligence-led police service, this year. It also plans to procure technical expertise in cyberdefence. This will result in increased citizen security with greater accountability and management of the force.
Sir Patrick also indicated that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) could have a name change before the end of the 2017-2018 parliamentary year. Legislation is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the legislative year to give effect to the administration's plans to change the name of the 150-year-old institution.
A new police service act is to be tabled.
Sir Patrick announced this and other legislative measures yesterday.
Legislation is also coming this year to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as an independent national law enforcement agency focused on terrorism, major organised crime and serious corruption.
At the same time, Sir Patrick told parliamentarians that the Sexual Harassment Bill will be brought to Parliament this year.