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Jamaica | Concern over plan by govt to amend the Bail Act

Featured Jamaica | Concern over plan by govt to amend the Bail Act
KINGSTON,  August 31, 2019 - Members of the legal profession as well as civil society, are concerned over the plan by government to extend the amount of time accused persons can be held by the police without granting bail, with the planned amendment to the Bail Act, which they said could be  unconstitutional.

The National Security Council (NSC) in its deliberatiuons on Thursday, emphasized the urgency for the new Bail Act to be finalized as another tool to improve safety and security in the country.

The new Bail Act will be brought before the Cabinet this legislative year. It was a significant topic of discussion yesterday during the regular monthly meeting of the NSC, chaired by Prime Minister Andrew Holness. 

A news release from Jamaica House said  "The Act will clarify and provide guidance on the grounds to keep persons in custody without being charged for major criminal offences. It will also detail the time frame for which someone can be detained between being suspected of committing an offence and formally charged.

Prime Minister Holness acknowledged the constitutional limitations in which the new Bail Act and crime-fighting measures have to be examined.  In this regard, the Council also took note of the approaches being taken by other countries such as the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom regarding provisions for bail.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness also received operational updates from the Chief of Defence Staff-Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Commissioner of Police- Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Director General of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA). An update was also received from the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) regarding the intensified implementation of ‘Plan Secure Jamaica.’ 

Additionally, the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) along with Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ) Airports Limited presented a proposed plan for a ‘Seamless Passenger Journey’ which includes a new border management system. The plans also included streamlining operations at the nation’s airports and integrating advanced technologies.

And, the Prime Minister also used the opportunity to charge the Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson to ensure that the necessary procedures are in place for a smooth start to the new academic year which begins next Monday.

  • Countries: Jamaica
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