Lowest murder toll for a week last week, and lowest since 2015 – PM Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Only 12 murders were recorded in Jamaica 0ver the week of November 13 to 19, which represents the lowest number of killings to have been recorded in a week this year, and the lowest one-week total since 2015.

This was revealed on Tuesday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the House of Representatives as he made the case for the states of emergency (SOEs) which he declared for seven parishes on November 15, to continue until January 14, 2023. He was speaking during the debate on the motion he brought to extend the SOEs.

In the end, the measure was approved with the votes of 44 members of the Government only, as Opposition members refused to support the motion, citing, among other things, the supposed unconstitutional use of the SOEs.

The motion will be debated in the Senate on Friday, and the vote of one Opposition senator is needed for the security measure to remain in force.

The prime minister, while insisting that SOEs save lives, said the significant reduction in murders between November 13 and 19 was achieved despite the fact that only five of those days were under the SOEs.

“This is consistent with what we have come to expect under a state of emergency,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, with Jamaica having one of the highest murder rates in the world at more than 40 per 100,000, Holness has signalled that a minimum sentence of 30 years is on the cards for those who are found guilty of murderously taking a life.

Holness told the House that similar to the more punitive Firearms Act that took effect in October, and which prescribes sentences of 15 years to life, the law relevant tp murders is to be amended to prescribe harsher sentences.

“We’re looking at other legislation to ensure that our legislative framework is aligned. We’re going to be strengthening the cyber security legislation and policy framework,” Holnes said.

“Now that we have increased the penalty for illegal possession of a firearm to a minimum of 15 years, possible life, we have to look at the offence of murder, and we have to increase that penalty,” he added.

Continuing, the prime minister said: “My thoughts on the matter, though not yet finalised, and the thinking, is that we should give 30 years minimum for murder.”

He said Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has been directed to bring forward considerations.

“Early next year we will be coming to the House with amendments to the penalty for murder,” Holness said. He insisted that his Government is very serious about treating with murders.

Of note is that the death penalty is still on the books for persons found guilty of murder. However, no hanging has taken place in Jamaica since 1988.