Security Ministry official says only two convictions in four years under anti-gang law
Livern Barrett, Parliamentary Reporter
A National Security Ministry official has told a parliamentary committee that four years after the anti-gang law took effect, only two persons have been convicted under the legislation.
Up to December last year, according to Rohan Richards, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of National Security, a total of 448 persons were arrested and charged for various breaches of the legislation.
Of this number, Richards said there were two convictions and they were as a result of guilty pleas.
The disclosure was made before a joint select committee of Parliament which is now meeting at Gordon House in downtown Kingston to review the anti-gang law.
Richards said information from the police show that up to the end of last year, there were 274 active criminal gangs across the island with more than 9,000 members.
He says 77 are considered major organised criminal enterprises.
The chief technical director in the national security ministry revealed too, that 985 or 61 per cent of the 1,616 murders recorded in Jamaica last year were gang-related.
The committee is now discussing a number of proposals by the ministry to strengthen the legislation.