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Anti-gang bill passed in Senate

Published:Friday | March 7, 2014 | 6:55 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

A law created to disrupt and suppress criminal gangs was passed in the Senate this afternoon.

The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly called the anti-gang bill imposes stiff sentences for involvement in gang activities.

It was passed with three amendments.

The law is to be reviewed by the Parliament three years after its implementation.

However, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, A.J. Nicholson, says the problems the law seeks to fight have existed in Jamaica for a long time and the bill cannot resolve them within the three year period.

He points to the anti-informer culture as one example of the impediments to the bill's success.

And Leader of Opposition Business Tom Tavares-Finson says while his side fully supports the bill, other laws must be working effectively for the desired results to be achieved.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Mark Golding who piloted the legislation through the Upper House sought to assure the public that the law will be reviewed to ensure the police do not abuse street youths.

Human rights advocates have argued that the law will allow the police to abuse youths who assemble on the streets.

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