Individuals charged with murder and gun crimes will soon find that they will be denied bail while facing such charges.
Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, warned on Tuesday that such individuals will not be allowed to “remain at large”.
She was speaking in Gordon House as she made her contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate.
“I should like to advise the honourable House that a new Bail Act is coming. I wanted to table it today, but we are revising the wording of some clauses,” the minister told her colleagues.
“I will say no more at this stage, except that if yuh on murder charge, you cannot be at large, and if yuh on gun charge, yuh cannot be at large,” she added.
Jamaicans have often expressed anger at the courts after people charged with murder go on to commit other murders; so, too, individuals charged with gun crimes who then feature in new crimes after being granted bail.
Police statistics show that the gun is the weapon of choice in up to 80 per cent of murders committed in Jamaica.
The police, while repeatedly calling for amendments to the Bail Act to plug this loophole, have pointed the finger of blame at the judiciary, which, in turn, has pointed the finger at legislators.
Legislators have spent the last several months in a joint select committee of the Parliament reviewing the existing Bail Act and contemplating changes.