Laws with outdated penalties to be revised
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck has indicated that many of the laws of Jamaica with outdated penalties will be revised and modernised during this fiscal year.
Speaking at his post-Sectoral Debate press conference at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices today, Chuck said that in the 2017/18 fiscal year the Ministry undertook the task of reviewing the monetary penalties of over 800 laws.
“All the Ministries have been provided with a matrix of all the laws relevant to them. Some of the fines were $40, $20 and $100. So, we have invited them to make recommendations as to what the new penalties should be,” he said.
“Reports have returned to us from some Ministries that some of these laws can be repealed, or some sections of the laws can be repealed. In those circumstances, starting this fiscal year, we will be upgrading and improving many of the laws, and certainly, over the next year or two, we want all the laws in Jamaica to be properly updated,” Chuck added.
The matter of penalties came up for public discussion last year following two cases in which persons convicted of offence paid insignificant fines.
The justice minister said efforts have to be made to make “fines be a deterrent to any offence”.
Chuck pointed out that the Ministry will set the tone by completing the upgrading of its laws.
“I am to get a report by the end of this month when we can start taking the laws to Parliament for the upgrading of the penalties,” he said.
He said some of the laws that need revision include the Coroner’s Act, Criminal Justice (Reform) Act, Gun Court Act, Hindu Marriage Act, Evidence Act, Enquiry into Causes of Fire and Accidents Act, Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, Crown Proceedings Act, and the Dangerous Drugs Act.