Criminal code bill to increase penalties for violent crimes
As we said earlier, the House of Representatives met today. Nine bills were debated and passed. While the ruling party had a full show, noticeably absent were PUP representatives Mark Espat, Cordel Hyde and Florencio Marin. Nonetheless the Leader of the Opposition made it clear that the Criminal Code Bill, in his opinion would not do anything to deter criminals since the murder conviction rate is below ten percent. The bill, which was passed by the super majority in the House, will increase penalties for attempted murder, rape, carnal knowledge and other violent offences.
John Briceño. Leader of the Opposition
“Increasing the penalties on rape, carnal knowledge etcetera attempted murder will certainly have no effect on criminals since only a seven percent conviction rate. I think that what the government needs to do is strengthen the D.P.P. office for them to have more prosecutors so that they could increase the conviction rate. And probably Mister Speaker, it’s time for the government to hire private attorney to take on some of the more serious criminal cases against the criminals. We are already doing it for civil cases so I don’t see why we cannot do the same thing for criminal cases.”
Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing
“If you notice section eighty-four of the principal act is amended by repealing two years and substituting it by fifteen years. Everybody knows that the conviction record in the D.P.P.’s office is not what we want them to be. And we must do whatever we can to strengthen the D.P.P.’s office, but it doesn’t mean that at the same time we just wah sit down and make the criminals run ruckus over we and take over the country—the people have taken over the country. Everybody ‘fraid fi go out into the streets. You ‘fraid fi go out on a Friday night or Saturday night because you don’t know if you are the next person. You sit down pan the verandah like the poor lady sit down pan Zericote Street ina ih bed with ih pikney ina ih house wrap up and everything and some idiot, some crazy fool out deh just gone and fire gun because he have some beef with the next somebody that is connected to the yaad. Just shoot up wah gun, kill this poor lee gial endanger the other family members life. Mister Speaker, we have to put the necessary things in pace to prevent these things from happening. This country is not what we use to know it to be. The country is out of hand. The government is placed in a position where it has to do what it got to do in order to bring it under control. If then it is necessary to bring the B.D.F. alone to police and man certain section of the city then that is what we have to do.”