Jamaica Gleaner / National Security minister Robert Montague has said that persons charged with murder or gun-related crimes should serve their sentences consecutively rather than concurrently.

Montague’s comments come just two days after authorities in the Unites States (US) revealed that a Jamaican-bound shipment of 119 illegal guns and hundreds of assorted rounds of ammunition were seized in Florida in November.


1,508 murders  

His remarks also come against the backdrop of the country’s murder rate surpassing the 1,500 mark for the first time in eight years.

Data from the Corporate Communications Unit, the police’s communications arm, has shown that 1,508 people were murdered between January 1 and December 6.

The figure represents a 22 per cent increase (275 more persons) over the corresponding period last year.

“If you’re caught with three firearms, why are you being treated as a man caught with one?” Montague questioned while speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Centre at Twickenham Park, yesterday.

“I would like it to be that when you’re finished with the first charge (sentence) after 10, 15 years, you begin the second charge (sentence), and then when you finish with that one, you start the third one for the bullets,” added Montague.

Minister softens position on bail for accused murderers Minister of National Security Robert Montague has, seemingly, softened his position on the refusal of bail for persons charged with gun-related crimes.

There has been significant outcry since Montague made the suggestion a few weeks ago, and yesterday afternoon, the Western St Mary representative said that he was open to a compromise.

“Let us say no bail for firearms and murders for the next five years until we treat with this situation that is before us,” said Montague.

Additionally, the Western St Mary representative has said that if Jamaica had a verifiable system of identification, members of the security forces would not have much trouble in identifying the perpetrators of crime.

Montague stated that with the introduction of facial recognition in the passport application process, more than 600 persons have been found with multiple passports in under a year.

“The worst case is one Jamaican with eight different passports. There are instances when the police in Jamaica have hundreds of warrants that they cannot deliver because the address on the driver’s licence and, therefore, the address on the warrant, is of a church, cemetery, or it doesn’t exist. That is why I support the NIDS (National Identification System) because it is based on a unique feature of an individual to identify them. So we may have many Tom Strokes, but each and every Tom Strokes has something unique about them that can separate them,” argued Montague.


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