Categorized | Featured, National News

PLP Taking Soft Approach to Crime, Says FNM

Bernard Nottage _ Keith Bell 3

The Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) intent to move ahead with pulling and reviewing the recently implemented package of crime bills proves the newly elected Christie administration is prepared to take a “soft approach to crime,” according to the Free National Movement (FNM).

Early this week the new National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage made it known that the government is looking to review that package of crime bills passed under the FNM last year.

Dr. Nottage said some areas of the legislation needs some tweaking and double checking.

But in a press release issued by the FNM Wednesday, the party said the mere fact that the new government is proposing to review toughened crime laws only proves that it intends to take a soft approach to the critical issue.

“The PLP campaigned asking for stiffer sentences for criminals,” the party said. “After a week, which recorded a record nine murders, the government having consulted with convicts has now determined sentences enacted by the FNM are too tough.”
“Even before parliament convenes the Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage has shown that he intends to take a soft approach to various criminal elements.  He appears more concerned about criminals than the victims of crime.”

The package of crime bills prompted a lengthy and sometimes volatile debate in the House of Assembly last year.

The laws imposed heavier sentences on individuals convicted of serious crimes.

Sentences were increased for those convicted of gun, sex and drug crimes. It also imposed harsher penalties for armed robbers. The sentence range for armed robbery is now set at 15 to 25 years.

The Sexual Offences Act was amended to ensure that rape carried a sentence range of 15 years to life. The life sentence was also amended to mean the whole of the remaining years of a convicted person’s life.

The package of bills also saw to it that the Bail Act stripped a magistrate of its power to grant bail to individuals accused of serious crimes like murder, robbery and rape. It also requires a judge to take “certain critical factors” into consideration before granting bail.

“This is a worrying development for a party that failed during their prior term in office to enact the full range of responses to crime put in place by the last FNM Government,” the release added. “Even worse, the Christie government now seems intent on dismantling tougher laws put in place to combat violent crime.”

The country’s murder count stands at 54.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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