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Anti-gang bill to be tabled next week

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Reggae artiste Queen Ifrica stands in the gallery at Gordon House after being acknowledged by National Security Minister Peter Bunting during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate yesterday. Bunting had invited Ifrica to hear his presentation after she had, in song, expressed a desire to see the national security minister move his anti-crime efforts beyond talk. Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

AFTER YEARS of being in gestation, National Security Minister Peter Bunting has announced that an anti-gang bill will be tabled in Parliament next week.

Bunting, in making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives had earlier in the day, said the legislative committee of Cabinet yesterday approved the bill, titled the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Organised Criminal Groups) Act, which is aimed at suppressing and disrupting organised criminal enterprises.

Bunting said the bill would make amendments to existing legislation.

In January, Bunting told The Gleaner that the anti-gang legislation had to be subjected to further review before being brought to Parliament.

"The draft of the anti-gang legislation which was before us, the police had very serious concerns that it would not be effective," Bunting told The Gleaner.

He added: "You can table legislation as a public-relations exercise and it does not have any impact ... ; it is one thing to say you have tabled them, but it's another thing when you talk about the impact."


Meanwhile, Bunting said the much-talked-about DNA bill is to be tabled in the Parliament within a couple of months.

He told legislators that his ministry was awaiting responses from the Attorney General's Department and the Legal Reform Department on the proposed legislation, which aims to empower the relevant authority to provide for the taking of DNA samples from persons arrested in relation to specified offences.

Bunting also said he expected a bill to amend the Trafficking in Persons Act, which was tabled in Parliament earlier this month, would be passed before the House rises for the summer recess.

The amendment to the Trafficking in Persons Act is a critical part of the country's fight to respond to the country's ranking on the US State Department Trafficking in persons watchlist.

Jamaica was last year downgraded to Tier-2 watchlist status, but the country's ranking was improved as Jamaica has been removed from the watchlist and returned to Tier 2.