Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Jamaica needs more details about gov't's directive on preventative detention — Public Defender

Published:Friday | February 10, 2017 | 10:47 AM
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry.

The Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry says the nation needs to hear more details about the government’s policy directive to the police to begin the temporary detention of citizens involved in incidents of domestic violence.

The use of preventative detention by the police is among the measures announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte on Wednesday to help tackle the country’s crime problem.

Malahoo Forte acknowledged that the move would stir debate throughout the society, but expressed confidence that it conforms with the laws of Jamaica, specifically section 14 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Speaking to The Gleaner/Power106 News Centre last evening, Harrison Henry acknowledged that section 14 subsection 2 of the Charter allows for the detention of citizens where it is reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of a crime.

She argued that the term reasonably necessary was included to protect the human rights of citizens detained under the provision.


She says she has heard examples of how the police will enforce the government’s policy directive, but insists that the public needs to get more details.

As an example, the public defender expressed concern about the discretion being placed in the hands of the police to arrest citizens.

She also has reservations about the plan to have a Justice of the Peace authorise continued detention after the 24-hour period allowed by law.


Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry