Monday, 16 January 2023 10:57

45 years to life: Gov't proposes harsher penalties for murder

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The Jamaican Government is moving to change the penalty for murder.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says this is being done with speed and intent, as his team is hoping to finalise the proposal at today's Cabinet meeting.

He was speaking on Saturday at the 25th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner of the East Central St James Education Fund in Montego Bay.

The proposed sentencing scheme, according to the prime minister, is as follows:

For capital murder the penalty would be death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and for non-capital murder, the penalty would be 45 years to life, meaning a minimum of 45 years must be served before parole is considered.

Meanwhile, Holness said division on the use of constitutional tools to fight crime allows criminals to persist.

“As society moves back and forth on academic arguments, people are losing their lives, and the more we remain divided on the subject and on taking instrumental and decisive action, criminals feel as if they have crevices to hide," he said.

The prime minister also said the use of constitutional tools in a judicious way that respects people’s rights and preserves Jamaica’s liberal democracy is effective in fighting crime.

He emphasised that, when the Government uses these tools, it does so with the highest respect and regard for human rights.

Holness said, too, that he is hopeful of a consensus on the use of constitutional tools, but in the meantime, the Government is engaged in a transformation of its laws and penalty systems.

One of the latest examples of this the prime minister announced is an increase in the penalty for improper disposal of solid waste.

He said the Government is adjusting laws and penalties to reflect the priority that all Jamaicans place on public order, public safety, and public security.