Anti-gang Law: Joe Issa Shares Police Frustration with Inability to Prosecute

Once again, the justice system has shown its ugly head, as it is said to be crippling the Police from prosecuting the over-250 people arrested and charged under the anti-gang law due to the heavy backlog in the courts.

“Since we’ve had the anti-gang legislation, we have arrested over 253 persons. The challenge we face is that of the 208 persons last year and 46 this year, none of those cases have gone through the courts yet. They’re all clogged up somewhere in the court system,” lamented Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of crime Glenmore Hinds, in an article in the Jamaica Observer.

Deputy Commissioner of Police — Glenmore Hinds

Hinds is said to have stated the view that “there is no real urgency to prioritise these cases…one of the things that we want to see done is at least for some of these cases to go through to set the precedence, and recognise where there are shortcomings in the law. But until that happens, we won’t see how effective the law is. It’s the volume; the system cannot cope.”

Last year, the justice system came for severe criticisms from the US State Department and all quarters of Jamaica, including the business sector and, in particular, Joe Issa, who blamed the system for the state of affairs wherein crime victims and their family are crying for justice.

In a North Coast Times article, during the parliamentary debate on the replacement of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Issa did not support the measure on the grounds that the court system needed to be repaired, the process was slow, had one of the worst backlog of cases, the infrastructure was poor and did not inspire confidence.

Joseph Issa Founder Cool Group of Companies

“It makes perfect sense to me, that we should first fix or better our local court system at home before we can begin to debate the pros and cons of the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction, which will see it replacing the Privy Council as our final court of appeal,” Issa said in the article, as he stood by the Rastafari Millennium Council in their position on the CCJ.

Issa, who is said to have built the Cool brand of over 50 companies, said he was cognizant of the challenges Jamaican businesses have endured through crime and violence on workers and assets, with some cases never getting to the courts.

The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Bill, popularly called the anti-gang law, came into effect in 2014 and forms part of the Government’s strategy to fight crime.

The best news which the Police had, which is no comfort at all, is that they don’t believe Jamaicans are killed at random.

“Contrary to a belief that I think is widely held, Jamaicans are not necessarily going to be killed randomly. I am not saying there are not some of those, but the people who are killed, the victims, I think, are chosen…There are lots of innocent people who are killed, but they are not random,” said DSP Hinds.