Severe measures taken to fight Jamaican gangs

National Security Minister Dwight
Nelson says the Government would be seeking to institute draconian anti-gang
measures to assist the police in their fight against crime.

“I want to warn that we are
coming with a piece of legislation to dismantle gangs which is going to be a
bit draconian and I know we are going to face some opposition, but this Government,
once and for all, will take the kind of drastic step necessary to end the cycle
of crime,” Nelson said.

“This is the only approach the
Government can take to tame this monster,” he added.

The national security minister said
the Government would execute its anti-gang strategy “without fear or

However, coordinator for Amnesty
International in Jamaica, Carla Gullotta, has cautioned against any legislation
that would infringe on people’s basic rights.

“Everybody will agree that
Jamaica needs something serious, but I don’t think people will agree with the
idea that to do that you are going to step on people’s rights,” she said.

In addition, she said if the
Government was going to be serious about dismantling gangs, it also had to look
at the relationship between politics and gangs.

“That is the first thing you
have to be serious about and don’t sympathise because it’s the constituency of
one or the constituency of the other one,” Gullotta said.

Police statistics showed that 879
or 52 per cent of the record 1,680 murders committed last year were gang
related, a huge jump from the 736 gang-related murders reported the previous

Nelson refused to
give details of the anti-gang pact he plans to take to Parliament. He, however,
said that he would outline his intentions when he speaks in the Senate on