Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 06, 2017 (RSCNPF): The High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police is encouraged by the Cabinet’s decision to review the current Firearms and Bail legislation with the goal of strengthening both.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr The Honourable Timothy Harris announced during a recent Press Conference that the cabinet intended to bring revisions to these legislations to the Parliament. “At the next sitting of the [Federal] Parliament, we will pass the Firearms Amendment Act and the Bail Amendment Act to make them more consistent with our people’s views and expectations of our justice system”, said the Prime Minister. The bills will be presented during the sitting on June 13.
He added, “given the prevalence of guns in horrific killings, we propose to seek Parliament’s approval in doubling the penalty for a summary offence from a maximum term of 10 years in certain cases, to a maximum term of imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.” Cases that will fall under this category include the importation or exportation of a firearm without a permit, the manufacturing of a firearm without a license, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Addressing changes to the Bail Act, Prime Minister Harris said, “….we intend to make it more difficult for criminals to receive bail in relation to both a capital offence, such as murder and a firearm offence at the same time. This will mitigate against criminals on bail exacting vengeance on witnesses and innocent people in our society.” He added, “We believe that the risk of loss of lives has to be given appropriate weight in the balancing between loss of lives and liberty.”
Commissioner of Police Mr. Ian M. Queeley said, “the proposed amendments as outlined by the Prime Minister is welcomed by the Police. We have made several recommendations to government with a view to have legislative changes and we are heartened to know that some consideration is being given. We have seen several cases where persons on bail have committed additional offences and in some cases it was a repeat of what they were on bail for.” He added, “the strengthening of both of these pieces of legislation gives more teeth to the judiciary and can keep some of these “bad” individuals off the streets.” Commissioner Queeley added, “anything that contributes to ensuring Citizen Safety is welcomed by Police, and we welcome this bold step.”