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Opposition’s Response to Government’s Crime Statements

Opposition’s Response to Government’s Crime Statements

The Opposition is disappointed that neither the Prime Minister’s briefing from the special Cabinet meeting to address crime, nor the policy statement in today’s Throne Speech, offer anything new or hopeful to calm the fears of the society.

After almost a year in office, the Prime Minister and his team do not seem to comprehend the crime situation. Gang violence has been responsible for about 70% of the murders committed over the last five years. It is therefore puzzling that these presentations failed to outline a gang-disruption strategy.

Also absent from the announcements are any indication of the promised “unprecedented” budgetary support so badly needed by the security forces. A preliminary review of the Estimates of Expenditure for 2017/18 shows a reduction in both recurrent and capital expenditure for the Ministry of National Security.

While the Opposition shares the outrage at the increased violence against our women and children by criminals. Rather than “preventive detention”, a more effective response would be to complete the long overdue regulations, which will make the DNA Act (2015) effective. The DNA Act (2015) is a powerful tool for investigating sexual crimes, securing convictions, and removing offenders from the streets.

The approach to “preventive detention” described by the Attorney General, exceeds what is anticipated by the Constitution, and when combined with a zero tolerance approach is fraught with risk of abuse.

The Opposition stands ready to support a credible crime policy/plan, but will not allow the rights of our citizens to be arbitrarily abrogated or infringed.