Prime Minister Holness Issues Warning Ahead of the Passage of the New Firearms Act

“Every Jamaican, be aware, be forewarned, the penalties for possession of illegal firearm have been increased significantly.” – Prime Minister Holness.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness warns criminals to surrender illegal guns as the country moves closer to implementing the new Firearms Act.

Speaking yesterday, (September 14, 2022) at the National Police College of Jamaica Passing Out Parade and Awards in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, Prime Minster Holness underscored that tough measures will be enforced to treat with violence and reduce murders in the society.

Research has confirmed that the greatest enabler of violence aside from social issues is access to illegal firearms.

The Prime Minister said: “I am expecting that the new Firearms Bill will be passed in Parliament (the Senate) on Friday, and it will become law. Every Jamaican, be aware, be forewarned, the penalties for possession of illegal firearm have been increased significantly, and because we have increased the penalties significantly, the Government of Jamaica will implement an amnesty for a very short period.”

In this regard, Prime Minister Holness stated that Jamaicans have no excuse to have and use illegal firearms.

The Prime Minister continued, “Poverty is no excuse for seeking to have and using an illegal firearm. There are no freedom fighters here, there are no rebellions here, and every Jamaican must be a law-abiding citizen. When we make these kinds of excuses for possession of illegal weapons all we are doing is empowering criminals, making it harder for these young recruits. We cannot be ambivalent and duplicitous.”

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness announced that the Commissioner of Police has so far implemented the electronic station diary at three of the 19 divisional headquarters. These include Kingston Eastern, St. Andrew Central and St. Andrew South. All divisional headquarters will be completely equipped by March 2023.

The Prime Minister noted that the electronic diary is a strategic change to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) because it is a tool for immediately making connections, tracking and analyzing crime data.

Also, the Government is expected to add 1,300 new recruits to the JCF this year. Prime Minister Holness highlighted that this increase will compensate for the 450-500 officers that may leave the ranks of the JCF, putting the Force closer to its staffing goal of 15,000 police personnel.

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