PARLIAMENT will be asked, come December, to consider a bill which will give jurisdiction to foreign authorities to prosecute Jamaican drug traffickers intercepted in international waters on Jamaican-flagged vessels.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who made the revelation in the House of Representatives yesterday, said the amendment to the Maritime Drug-Trafficking (Suppression) Act was one measure being undertaken to stem the rise in dangerous crimes.
He said he expected to take that piece of legislation at the same time a DNA bill is being brought to Parliament, stressing that it was important to give the security forces the necessary crime-fighting support.
The minister said that despite a four per cent reduction in murders compared to 2011, a six per cent decrease for the first half of 2013 when compared to the first half of 2012, violence during the summer had started rising again and was "threatening the gains which have been made over the last three years".
Bunting told Parliament that there was an increase in the number of murders during the months of July and August 2013.
He said murders had risen to an average of four per day for the period June 30 to August 31 when 251 murders were committed. According to the minister, the figures represent a deterioration from the average daily murder rate of 2.9, which was recorded for the first half of the year.
Bunting said one reason for the rise in murders was that hardened gunmen were diversifying into robbery as other sources of illicit income such as extortion or lottery scamming are squeezed.
He also argued that as the war on drugs heats up in Central America, more cocaine traffic was returning to the historical Caribbean routes such as Jamaica.