Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Braithwaite, as he delivered a few remarks.

Some of the attendees of yesterday’s National Consultation on Violence.

GET TOUGH ON CRIME

AG calls for stricter punishments for offenders

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Braithwaite, proposes that there be stricter punishments for crime offenders.

The AG made this comment during the opening ceremony of the two-day National Consultation on Violence, which was held at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium yesterday morning.

“I propose that anyone, male or female, found guilty of being a gang member should receive no less than 20 years in prison. Leaders of gangs will receive a maximum of 25 years in prison. I hear too often of alleged gang leaders living among us, seemingly without fear of prosecution,” he said.

He also proposed widening the Police powers to stop and search under the Police Act and an Amendment to the Bail Act to prevent bail being granted for a period of 18 months where the offence charged included the use of a firearm. With respect to legislative initiatives, he noted that there should be a new firearms bill and a civil assets forfeiture regime placed before parliament early next month.

“These measures will hopefully send a signal to those criminal elements in our society that this government has a zero tolerance to crime and if found guilty, you will be subject to maximum penalties under our laws,” he said.

“Hopefully, these measures, coupled with strong judicial enforcement, will be a deterrent to young persons who have a desire to join a gang or gang leaders who prey on vulnerable youth and initiate them into gangs.” The AG went on to note that over the next two months, the Criminal Justice Research and Planning will be conducting qualitative research in “hot spots” across Barbados in order to get a better understanding of the factors within those identified communities that are predisposing young people to gravitate towards criminal activity.

“This evidence will enable resources to be channelled where they are most needed. Gone are the days when persons come up with ideas based on a gut feeling and hope it corrects the existing problem,” he said.

Additionally, he revealed that in the upcoming months, the research and data management systems will be strengthened as Barbados will have the opportunity to benefit from the assistance from the UNDP and USAID through the CariSECURE project, which is an initiative that aims to strengthen the data management systems across the various criminal justice departments.

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