Prime Minister Andrew Holness has sought to assure those concerned about tougher crime measures being contemplated by his administration, saying there's no intention to proceed unreasonably.

The government recently announced that it was seeking to prevent persons charged for murder and gun crimes from getting bail.
 
Mr Holness, speaking Sunday at a meeting of the governing Jamaica Labour Party's  Area Council 2 in Sydenham, St Catherine, acknowledged that there is fear that legislative changes are meant to take away the rights of citizens.
 
He stressed however that the changes proposed by the government will only apply in limited situations.
 
Mr. Holness noted that the new Firearm Act is now before Parliament and the Bail Act will be laid soon.
 
He added that the government will next be seeking to address the issue of  the use of  emergency powers, through a new statute, the Enhanced Security Measures Act, which will incorporate some of the measures that were previously imposed under states of public emergency.
 
If included in the new law, he said these measures "would help us with the control of the criminal terrorists in our midst."
 
Courts
 
Mr. Holness, seemingly anticipating the possible response of judges to challenges to the new law when enacted, said the courts need to take into consideration the national sentiment in relation to the state of  crime in the country.
 
The judicial system "should take note of the frustration of the people," he suggested, adding that "justice is blind... but it should not be deaf."
Wednesday, 01 June 2022 14:15

Jamaica Zoo Ordered Closed by NEPA

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Jamaica Zoo has been ordered closed by the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA.

Wednesday, 01 June 2022 14:00

Jamaica Gets First Lottery Scamming Conviction

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In a historic first, a jury sitting in the Supreme Court has convicted a lottery scammer in Jamaica.

The man, Kemar Townsend, was convicted this week in the St. Catherine Circuit Court of lottery scamming and money laundering.

 Lottery scamming and money laundering offences are usually heard in a judge alone trial.
 

The trial, which lasted two-weeks, was presided over by Justice Bertram Morrison.

The jury returned the unanimous guilty verdict after deliberating for less than an hour.

Townsend was found guilty of the offences of Conspiracy to Obtain Money by False Pretence, Engaging in a transaction involving Criminal Property and Possession of Criminal Property.

The complainant, a seventy-two year-old United States citizen, testified that she received several telephone calls from at least two persons informing her that she had won the lottery: a total of US$682-million, three motor vehicles and $297,000.00 USD in refund.

She testified that she was instructed by one of the callers that the funds were being housed in Jamaica and therefore she had to send money to Jamaica to claim her prizes.

The complainant on 3 separate occasions sent money to a local bank account held by the accused, Kemar Townsend.

On December 14, 2017, the complainant sent US$9-thousand, on December 21, that same year the complainant sent US$10-thousand and on January 3, 2018, she sent $25-thousand to Townsend’s local bank account.

Townsend gave evidence that he thought the money received in his bank account were sent by his lover who resided in Switzerland as his lover would usually send large sums of cash to him.

He further testified that he did not know that these sums were sent by the complainant nor that they were criminal property.

He indicated that he was expecting funds from his lover around the same time that the complainant sent the money to his bank account.

 
Wednesday, 01 June 2022 13:55

Suspect charged with woman's murder in Runaway Bay

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Alromeo Pringle has been charged with the murder of Rochelle Glaze, who was found buried in a shallow grave in Cardiff Hall, Runaway Bay, St. Ann on Friday.
A man was arrested in Cornwall Mountain in Westmoreland on the weekend in connection with the seizure of a firearm and several rounds of ammunition.

LOCAL Government Minister Desmond McKenzie announced on Wednesday that his ministry will be spending $370 million to patch and rehabilitate roads in urban, high-traffic, and large residential areas, under a parochial road patching programme.

Friday, 27 May 2022 14:55

JLP politician shot dead

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National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang described Thursday’s killing of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) politician Lennox Hinds as a hit.

Hinds, who was councillor/caretaker for the Southborough Division in the St Catherine Southern constituency, was shot dead just as he was about to enter the Portmore toll road at the intersection of Marcus Garvey Drive in his Honda CRV.

Hinds, a major JLP organiser in Portmore and the wider St Catherine, was shot by men driving motorcycles. It is believed he was trailed by the motorcyclists.

The incident caused a massive pile-up of traffic entering the toll road as police processed the crime scene. Police later asked motorists who are heading towards Portmore, St Catherine, from Hagley Park Road in Kingston, to divert to Spanish Town Road.Lennox Hinds murder scene

Commenting on the murder on Twitter Thursday night, Government Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques said: “I am sad! I cannot believe that Lennox Hinds is gone. A life taken just like that. May his soul rest in peace.”

“Lennox Hinds. Jah Jah!!!!!!,” was the reaction on Twitter by Robert Morgan, the information minister.

Hinds was employed to the Island Traffic Authority as a motor vehicle examiner.

In 2007, he was charged with murder following the killing of a man and injuring of two other people in Portmore. The incident occurred during the run-up to the general election that year.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has confirmed that its ship “Harmony of the Seas” crashed into the Falmouth pier in Trelawny as it attempted to dock on Thursday.

In videos posted to social media, cruise ship passengers could be heard screaming as the ship made contact with the concrete mooring pylon.

“During arrival in Falmouth, Jamaica, Harmony of the Seas made contact with an extension part of the dock,” a statement from a Royal Caribbean representative read.

The spokesperson also reported that the ship sustained only minor injuries to its stern which was repaired the same day.

It’s unclear how much damage was done to the pier and what provisions would be made to repair it.

No injuries were reported.

The ship left Jamaica at approximately 4 pm Thursday as it continued its sailing schedule.

Harmony of the Seas is the third largest cruise ship in the world, weighing in at 226,963 tons and carrying up to 6,410 passengers.

The Port Authority of Jamaica said that they will be releasing a statement in short order.

 At least 50 bullets were fired by the gunmen who killed three people and injured two others during the attack in Rose Heights, St James on Wednesday.

Defence attorneys in the One Don gang trial are now seeking to have more of the accused individuals freed after charges were dismissed on Thursday morning against four of the men who were allegedly part of the criminal enterprise.

Opposition Spokesman on National Seccurity Peter Bunting is calling for the removal of Shane Dalling as head of the Firearms Licensing Authority. In a news release Mr Bunting said the FLA needs sober and competent leadership.

He said: "The Opposition has observed with concern the allegations and counter-allegations of corruption traded between two JLP operatives, both with intimate knowledge of the operations of the Firearms Licensing Authority under the JLP administration. While it is difficult to discern the entire truth without the report of an independent investigation, it is now clear to the public that the FLA has become a cesspool of corruption over the last six years." 

The Opposition is calling for:

1.     the Minister of National Security and the Board of the FLA to remove Shane Dalling as the CEO of the FLA for poor performance, especially in light of Mr. Dalling’s own admission that he can’t fix the troubling issues plaguing the entity.  Further evidence of poor governance and non-performance of the FLA’s CEO is the fact that the controversy riddled entity has not even submitted an Annual Report to Cabinet (as per the Cabinet Office website updated 02/2022) since 2016/17.

2.     the Integrity Commission to complete the investigation into corruption in the issuance of firearms licences by the FLA.  That investigation was launched by the  Office of the Contractor General in 2017, but was derailed by the government prematurely bringing into effect the new Integrity Commission Act, even though no transitional arrangements had been made for its operations.  While the Opposition is aware of the limited investigative resources available to the Integrity Commission, it is imperative that - given the threat to national security - this investigation be prioritized, and the report submitted to Parliament as soon as possible.

The Shadow Minister of National Security – Peter Bunting – commented “Mr. Dalling has a penchant for alarming statements to the media ranging, from the “discovery” of a gun-making machine which turned out to be a regular machine tool to his repeatedly “calling in MOCA” to investigate various allegations of corruption.  The public is not aware of a single successful prosecution (or even arrest) arising from any of these multiple disclosures.

The FLA needs sober and competent leadership to restore the integrity of the entity, and to regain the confidence of local law enforcement, our international partners, and the Jamaican public.