Categorized | National News

Government to Review Crime Bills

The government is reviewing the much touted compendium of crime bills passed by the Ingraham administration.

 According to National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage, there may be some features of the legislation that needs tweaking.

 The legislation, passed in both houses of Parliament late last year, sought to make drastic changes to improve the judicial system, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and to introduce community strategies and programmes.

 But while speaking with the media Monday, Dr. Nottage said the Christie administration is concerned.

 “Everything is under review. What is interesting is a lot of the persons who have been convicted under some of those bills have made certain approaches to us about the severity for some of the sentences. The appeals court has also had an opinion on it and so that is something we will have to review,” he said.

 The national security minister said the review will happen within the Christie administration’s first 100 days in office.

 While in Opposition, Dr. Nottage was also adamant about pushing Marco’s Law, proposed legislation named after 11-year-old Marco Archer.

 The youngster was kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered late last year.

 The proposed legislation would seek to strengthen the laws and penalties in relation to child molestation.

 Dr. Nottage said the government is also looking to review the law regarding the tenure of the commissioner of police.

 “We are going to correct the problem that we think exists with the Police Act in terms of the security of the tenure of the commissioner. We are going to amend that to ensure that the commissioner has assurance of his tenure, so that he could be sufficiently independent to carry out his duties without interference,” he said. 

There is also the plan to review the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP).

“We are discussing the agencies themselves, the problems they may have and we are also discussing the formation of a National Security Agency, the director of whom will be [former RBDF] Commodore Clifford Scavella, who has also sat in on our meetings with us,” he said.

“We want to hit the ground running with the saturation patrols in our communities so that means we have to reinforce our patrols. We want to appoint people who spoke to us during the campaign, so that we can have street fellows who are working along with us so that they can provide us with intelligence and assist us with being able to preempt any of the violent crimes that are being perpetrated.”

 Dr. Nottage said the government will have a number of community outreach programmes.

“We are going to engage the support of communities throughout The Bahamas. Engage the church, youth groups and other organisations in helping us reset the default pattern of our young men,” he said.

 “We know the crimes that are being committed, where they are being committed, we know why they are being committed. I’ve been through this 1,000 times. It’s not something that can be done overnight. We have too many people who have dropped out of schools and do not have jobs and so job creation programmes are extremely important.”

 The national security minister added that Urban Renewal 2.0 should be launched within the next few weeks.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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