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Anti-gang legislation could lead to discrimination, says sociologist

Published:Friday | October 11, 2013 | 9:11 AM

The Government’s latest anti-gang legislation is being dismissed on the grounds that it is rife with racism and classism and meant to suppress the nation’s poor youths.

The claims are contained in a letter to the editor sent to The Gleaner by board member of the Peace Management Initiative and sociology lecturer, Horace Levy.

He argues that the Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act, 2013 will fail to put a dent in criminal activities and instead promulgate the long-time tradition of policing along race and class lines.

Levy claims that in recent times the police force has become even more militarised with an annual average of 245 fatalities at the hands of the police over the last seven years.

However, Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, said care has been taken to ensure that this piece of legislation is not discriminatory and that the anti-gang act will form a critical part of the crime fighting strategy.

He also says care has been taken in developing this bill to distinguish groups organised for serious crimes from those that are not in the business of criminal activities.

He says the anti-gang legislation does not provide the police with any new powers and that Levy’s concerns along with those presented by other lobby groups such as Jamaicans for Justice are under review and will be taken into consideration.


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