By Caribbean News Now contributor
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness on May 30, chaired the monthly session of the National Security Council (NSC) and as a matter of priority resumed its review, development of policy and legislation to back the structured practice of enhanced security measures.
These measures are being designed to allow the security forces with a set of legislative means considered essential to more effectively treat with any geographic area within Jamaica, troubled by unprecedented levels of criminality that endanger life, public order, peace and general security surpassing the scope of routine law enforcement.
The NSC has delegated the attorney general to direct further consultations with the opposition on this important legislative initiative. Additionally, the NSC analysed the development made on separate pieces of legislation being crafted and/or revised to strengthen the overall legal structure for adequate law enforcement.
These include the proposed Law Enforcement (Protection of Integrity) Bill and revisions to the Firearms Act. The proposed Law Enforcement (Protection of Integrity) Bill, is geared at installing a stronger mechanism to protect and increase the integrity of law enforcement officials to guarantee that they are held to the highest levels of integrity and responsibility.
The revisions to the Firearms Act are also being prioritised as a key feature of the answer to the prevailing menace to the environment. The proliferation and use of firearms in Jamaica continue to be an important interest and the recommended revisions are designed to encourage stronger controls around firearm and illegal use.
The prime minister highlighted his concerns about the recent bold occurrences of crime and stressed to the security chiefs that these perpetrators must be apprehended and brought to justice. Holness also reemphasised his government’s devotion to rendering the required support, guaranteeing that all the requisite national efforts are adjusted to counter the triple threat of Dons, gangs and guns. Holness defined clearly that his government will proceed to seek those measures that will protect and secure the citizens of Jamaica, removing all criminal elements.
In his monthly statement to the NSC, the commissioner of police, Major General Antony Anderson wrote that the recent impertinent criminal acts, which transpired in the parishes of St Elizabeth and Clarendon had given the Jamaican public further insight into the established, determined and unmerciful nature of the criminal perils challenging Jamaica.
Anderson also guaranteed that no effort is being spared in bringing the criminals to justice and that measures are being executed to stop and treat with, the occurrence of comparable disturbances in the future. He urged the NSC that already the aims of the security forces have generated results. Anderson also notified the NSC on works initiated to set policies, tactics and governance tools for guarding residents and the economy against menaces originating from and through cyberspace.
Meanwhile, minister of justice, Delroy Chuck, is calling for persons of influence to help neutralise the power of dons in neighbourhoods.
Chuck said the police, politicians, justices of the peace (JPs), businesspersons, among others, have a vital part to play in the effort, and contended that the don culture is a foremost contributor to crime, and should be repudiated by everyone.
Chuck observed that “in far too many communities, especially in the inner cities, the dons are being empowered in many ways.” He added, “If more right-thinking Jamaicans can expose and neutralise the dons and the gangs, then Jamaica can reduce its crime problem; Jamaica can be a better place.”
The minister of justice was giving the keynote address at the commissioning of 132 Justices of the Peace (JPs) for the parish of Kingston, held June 2, at Wolmer’s Boys’ School, Marescaux Road, compound. He praised the recently commissioned JPs and asked them to carry out their duties with honour.
He noted that the ministry is spending “huge sums” to better equip jailhouses and police stations and asked the JPs to observe the state of these buildings. A JP is a person, who endeavours to promote and protect the rights of residents and helps to give justice to residents at the neighbourhood level.
The ministry of justice gives guidance for multiple processes required in the selection of persons to the office and guarantees that records are correctly supported. The office of the JP is voluntary; therefore, the appointee must not charge or receive any compensation for assistance given in this function.
JPs are not normally expected to have formal legal training to qualify for the office; however, every JP is supposed to complete a period of training before he/she is assigned.