Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Dr. Patrick Allen, has underscored the need for revitalised efforts at fighting crime, which he described as a “scourge” that “constitutes a major social and economic problem.”
Dr. Allen, who was delivering his first Throne Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in Gordon House today (April 7), urged that efforts be made to enhance the requisite mechanisms in order to counter criminal activity of all forms, including putting the necessary legislation in place.
“The measures to fight crime must be supported by strong legislative action, improved management of our security forces, greater accountability, and a strengthening of the partnership between the security forces and the citizenry,” Dr. Allen stated.
He said that the Government would be moving to implement the recommendations of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) strategic review this Parliamentary year, to address corruption within the force.
“The efforts to root out corruption within the Force and rebuild public confidence in our law enforcement machinery will be intensified,” he informed, noting that the recommendations were also aimed at improving the quality of the organisation, thereby ensuring proper management and accountability.
Turning to initiatives to stamp out corruption within the broader context, the Governor-General said that legislation to establish an Independent Commission of Investigations to look into cases of abuse of authority had been considered by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, which has tabled a report. It is expected that this legislation will be enacted this year.
He further informed that the Bill to establish a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute corrupt practices has been the subject of rigorous scrutiny by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament and “the Government expects to have this Bill debated and passed as a matter of urgency.”
Turning to the justice agenda, Dr. Allen indicated that the Justice Reform Programme, which was aimed at reducing the backlog of cases in the judicial system, would be intensified, with the establishment of the Court Management Services this year, to “consolidate and improve the management of our courts.”