# Speech from the Throne | GG says national security is top priority this year | News

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has introduced a number of measures to tackle Jamaica’s crime problem.

The overall incidence of major crime has decreased by 51%, from 10,711 in 2011 to 5,222 in 2021.

However, murders continue to experience a disturbing trend.

Last year alone, 1,463 people were killed.

“Our homicide rate remains at an unacceptable level and gunmen and gangs continue to threaten our peace and security,” Allen said.

The Governor General delivered the Speech from the Throne 2022-23 at Gordon House, to mark the opening of Parliament.

Allen said a key piece of legislation requiring reform is the Bail Act and that new provisions will be enacted regarding the granting or denial of bail and related matters.

Last June, National Security Minister Horace Chang called for stricter bail conditions and a review of considerations for people who commit serious crimes like murder, saying those accused of murder continue usually to wreak havoc when admitted on bail.

Some 85% of homicides in Jamaica are committed with an illegal firearm.

The Governor General said the government is moving forward with several new and revised laws, including:

1. The Firearms Bill, which will be tabled today
2. Corrections Act Review
3. Preparation of the Enhanced Security Measures Bill
4. Establishment of Security Personnel Integrity Bill
5. Preparation of the Intelligence and National Security Bill

The tabling of the gun bill coincides with the government’s “Operation Get Every Illegal Gun” campaign.

The multi-million dollar incentive fund, with a target of $250 million, will significantly increase the reward for information leading to the recovery of illegal firearms.

In addition, Allen said changes to the Companies Act are another legislative priority that will be pursued, with the goal of strengthening the disclosure of beneficial ownership information of companies.

This, he said, will align with Financial Action Task Force standards, to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Earlier this week, Financial Investigations Division Senior Director Keith Darien confirmed that his agency will target those involved in criminal activity who invest heavily in the real estate sector.

Investigations will also be carried out by the Serious Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency and the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime and Investigations Service.

The Minister of Security had recently stated that money laundering in Jamaica was a challenge to the entire security process in the country and that even in the face of a downturn in economic activity, due to the pandemic, the sector construction seemed to be in full swing.

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