One strike and you’re out. Those intent on recommitting violent criminal and drug-related offences will not be eligible for bail. This was the recommendation the Government put forward to Opposition members at yesterday’s crime talks at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. Those who attended were Opposition whip Marlene McDonald, PNM vice-chairman Camille Robinson-Regis and Opposition senators Fitzgerald Hinds and Terrence Deyalsingh.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said three topics were discussed, including the Bail Amendment Bill 2013.
“This bill lists a range of offences in respect of which we are seeking to have ‘one strike and you’re out’ if you commit an offence, and these are mostly violent and drug-related offences and that conviction occurred in the last ten years, and (if) subsequent to that, you are charged for that same offence again, you should get no bail for at least 120 days, in accordance with the anti-gang and other laws,” Ramlogan said.
The abolition of the jury trial was also raised and a list and description of the offences were presented to Opposition members. The Constitution Amendment Capital Offences Bill 2013 was also presented, said Ramlogan, explaining that it contained the amendment to the Constitution that the Government thinks necessary to implement the death penalty.”
“Simply put, that amendment was modelled with what the Jamaican parliament did, with the co-operation of the government and the Opposition, where they effected to say, ‘Take as long as you like, appeal as much as you like, but at the end of the day you will be executed in accordance with the order of the court,’” Ramlogan added. He said use of the lie detector and drug testing in the Police Service were also discussed and these were matters which must not be left up only to the discretion of the Police Service.
“This is a matter which perhaps we could consider as a legislative measure in the Parliament,” he said. “Whether or not the commissioner should have some measure of discretion to select officers, and together with that you have a system of random selection done on a lottery basis, or some method, so there would be some random element in it.” He added that he felt very strongly about this measure, because officers who used illegal drugs were more prone to commit crime and be in league with criminal elements.
“The lie detector test is important, because to accept one bad apple could spoil the whole bunch and compromise the integrity and strength of an entire police operation or raid, so we are looking at things in a very practical manner,” Ramlogan said.