Jamaica passes anti-gang bill

(Jamaica Gleaner) The political divide in Gordon House yesterday coalesced as parliamentarians signalled their unanimous support for The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014 (anti-gang bill), which the Government has crafted to dismantle criminal organisations.

Members of the House of Representatives passed the far-reaching piece of legislation with 22 amendments after a spirited debate.

In an impassioned plea to his colleagues and the country to rally behind the tough new statute, Attorney General Patrick Atkinson declared: “This society is tired of gangsters … . It is not just any informal group of young persons; it is this criminal organisation.”

He said the disruption and suppression of criminal organisations is fundamental to solving the country’s violence problem. “If we do not do it, we are lost as a people,” he added.

The attorney general made it clear that the proposed law would not exist in isolation as it was subject to the supremacy of the Constitution and the supervision of the court.

Delroy Chuck, former justice minister, in his contribution to the debate, challenged his parliamentary colleagues to dispense with political capital in order to dismantle criminal gangs.

“In this Parliament, some of us, all of us, will have to be prepared to give up some political capital to dismantle some of these garrisons. I think that we are never going to fully break up the gangs until we agree, between us, both sides and all politicians, that we must free the minds of our members in our communities so that they respect how others exercise their vote.”

He warned against the “fostering” of corner crews, noting that these are the same persons who “come back after the election to demand of us, and it is very difficult for us to say, ‘Go about your business'”.

While Chuck addressed his colleagues, some disagreed, saying, “Speak for yourself.”

Chuck noted that even though the criminal gangs were not created by politicians, they thrived in political garrisons.

He urged the security forces not to go net-fishing when implementing this law, but to use intelligence to target criminal organisations.

Create greater opportunities for youth

West Kingston Member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie urged National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who piloted the legislation, to tackle the importation of drugs and guns, which, he said, helped to fuel gang activities in the country.

Both McKenzie and Dr Horace Chang want the administration to create greater opportunities for young people and to increase social programmes in the inner city.

Chang also urged the Government to quickly complete the justice reform programme.

“We have to find a way to ensure that justice can be attainable. It must not be perceived now, as it is in the inner city, that you have to have big money to find justice. We have to change that. If we do not change that, we will be coming here in three years’ time to look at how we can toughen the law,” he said.

In closing the debate, Bunting addressed detractors of the anti-gang law, saying that many changes had been made since the bill was first promulgated.

“This bill is not a panacea, but it is a significant step forward.”

 

Robindranath Naraynsingh

T&T petrol dealers facing crisis – association head

(Trinidad Guardian) President of the Petroleum Dealers’ Association of T&T, Robindranath Naraynsingh, yesterday said the country’s 170 gas stations were on the verge of collapse due to poor profitability margins from the sale of fuel.

default placeholder

Chinese firm to establish US$2 billion industrial zone in Jamaica

(Jamaica Gleaner) Chinese company, Jiuguan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) are to invest US$2 billion to establish an industrial zone in Nain, St Elizabeth over a four-year period creating over 3,000 new jobs.

Carlene Grant

Spurned lover batters T&T guard to death

(Trinidad Guardian) Minutes after he told a teenage relative he was going to get a meal and go to church, a man instead showed up at Carlene Grant’s workplace and stabbed her several times before taking a sledgehammer and bashing in the side of her head.

Roosevelt Skerrit

Dominica defends citizenship programme as boost to economy

(Jamaica Gleaner) The Dominica government defended its decision to introduce a Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), saying that it had contributed significantly to the socio-economic development of the island.

Tonya d’Almada

Helicopter pilot charged with TT$1.3m in cocaine possession

(Trinidad Express) A helicopter pilot on Wednesday appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court charged with possession of cocaine valued at TT$1.3 million.

Carlene Grant (Trinidad Express photo)

Spurned lover batters T&T guard to death

(Trinidad Guardian) Minutes after he told a teenage relative he was going to get a meal and go to church, a man instead showed up at Carlene Grant’s workplace and stabbed her several times before taking a sledgehammer and bashing in the side of her head.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: