Anti-gang boost - Parliament to set up committee to review law
Acknowledging that Jamaica's crime problem is fuelled primarily by gang-related activities, Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang has indicated that Parliament will be asked to review the anti-gang law, formally titled the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act.
"We are giving an undertaking to ensure that the select committee will be appointed not longer than two weeks from now. It is a matter that must be done urgently as part of the total fight against criminal activity," Chang told the House of Representatives yesterday following a statement on the recent gang feud in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, which claimed the life of seven persons, including two children.
Chang argued that the operations of criminal gangs in Jamaica were beyond any normal level and required the entire country to deal with this major problem.
NEED FOR SPEED
Mark Golding, acting leader of opposition business, yesterday urged Chang to appoint the joint select committee speedily so that the anti-gang law could be reviewed in keeping with the stipulations of the statute.
"I want to urge you, Minister, let us have that joint select committee review," said Golding.
He noted that the benefit of a joint select committee would be that both sides of the parliamentary divide, as well as stakeholders from the wider society, would have the opportunity to make suggestions regarding the act.
The anti-gang law, which was brought into operation in 2014, mandates that a joint select committee be appointed to review the act within three years of its coming into force. However, that period expired in April 2017, and, to date, the committee has not been appointed.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn last week raised concerns that the anti-gang law had no provision that would allow law enforcement authorities to obtain a search warrant for accountants and other silent partners who were helping gangsters to finance their criminal enterprises.