Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite. (Photo by Lennox Devonish)
AT LEAST 20 years behind bars!
That’s the minimum sentence Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite would like handed down to those found to be members of gangs.
Speaking at yesterday’s National Consultation On Violence at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Brathwaite said tough anti-gang legislation was coming which he hoped would serve as a deterrent to criminals.
The Attorney General said while he was very concerned with the increase in gang-related activity, the intended legislation was not a “knee-jerk” reaction to the worrying levels of crime in the country.
“This consultation is one of the responses of my ministry to address the increase in gun violence. In the coming weeks we will also witness the passing of anti-gun legislation that will give more powers to our judiciary.
“I propose that anybody, male or female, who is found guilty of being a gang member should receive no less than 20 years in prison. Leaders of gangs will receive a maximum of 25 years in prison,” Brathwaite said.
“I hear too often of alleged gang leaders living among us, seemingly without fear of prosecution. I also propose to widen the police’s powers to stop and search under the Police Act, and an amendment to the Bail Act to prevent bail being granted for a period of 18 months where the offences charged include the use of a firearm.”
Brathwaite contended that the country’s gang problem was responsible for a large amount of the crimes being committed.
Only last August, Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith revealed that in the Black Rock, St Michael area alone, they had identified as much as 16 gangs.
“Research conducted by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit within the past year identified that we have a gang problem in Barbados which is fuelling gang-related crime,” the Attorney General said.