Gov't makes progress on laws to cripple gangs, scammers

Published: Thursday | January 17, 2013 Comments 0
Peter Bunting (centre), minister of national security, speaks with Police Commissioner Owen Ellington (right) and Major General Antony Anderson, chief of defence staff, during a press briefing at the offices of the Ministry of National Security in St Andrew yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Peter Bunting (centre), minister of national security, speaks with Police Commissioner Owen Ellington (right) and Major General Antony Anderson, chief of defence staff, during a press briefing at the offices of the Ministry of National Security in St Andrew yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

The Jamaican police will soon have three key pieces of legislation that will enhance their crime-fighting strategies.

National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who made the announcement yesterday, said the long-awaited anti-gang legislation, along with the DNA and lottery scam legislation, will be passed by Parliament this year.

According to Bunting, the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provision) bill or the proposed new lottery scam laws could be the first to be passed.

He gave the assurance that the proposed legislation would be tabled in Parliament next month and said he expected it to be passed before the end of the fiscal year in March.

Bunting, in explaining the delays with the proposed anti-gang legislation, pointed out that his administration found a number of concerns in the original document that was drafted by the previous government.

"The JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) had concerns that things were missing from the bill, other stakeholders had their concerns regarding the constitutionality of the anti-gang legislation," he said.

"Their concern was that the freedom of association guaranteed in the Charter of Rights could have been infringed on by the anti-gang bill," the minister explained.

Bunting said the current draft has been approved by Cabinet and the Attorney General's Department.

FINAL AMENDMENTS BEING MADE

"It's gone forward for the final amendments to be implemented, go through legislative committee and then it will be tabled in Parliament," he promised.

"I am very comfortable that a quality bill that will be able to stand any constitutional challenge will be passed," he added.

Bunting said the first draft of the DNA bill was submitted to him last November and revealed that it was circulated for comments from the various stakeholder groups.

"We are now on a second draft which will probably be the final draft," he explained.

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