Government Senator Charles Sinclair has made a call for the implementation of Control Orders which he said would result in the compulsory placement of unattached youth in a programme with a view of keeping them meaningfully occupied.
Senator Sinclair’s position was contained in his contribution to the State of the Nation debate in the House of Parliament on Friday November 12, 2021 where he stated that the proposed Control Orders programme could lead to a reduction in the country’s crime rate.
The Senator who served as Mayor of Montego Bay from 2007 to 2011 stated that control orders are currently used in several Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand and Canada and targets young people who are deemed a threat to public safety, and noted that the establishment of the Caribbean Military Academy in western Jamaica has broadened the training opportunities for young men in particular, who may otherwise be attracted to crime.
He said “it is my view that many of these training opportunities are attractive to those who are willing. The greater concern is what do we do with those who are not so willing? How do we get them attached to these programmes which will give value to their lives? I am prepared to advance the use of control orders ...to ensure that those who are not so willing and who may be a threat to public safety be placed in suitable programmes”.
Senator Sinclair who is a 4th term Councillor for the Montego Bay North East Division added that such programmes would be tailored to the individual and would instill discipline, social and other skills “for the benefit of the individual, the community and ultimately the nation”.
Using data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force from 2016 and 2021, Senator Sinclair pointed out that during that period, some 4,260 unemployed people were charged with major crimes including murder, shooting and breaches of the Firearms Act.
He said “many of these were unskilled or unemployable. We must do all we can to ensure that our young people attain a skill by any means necessary, adding that it would be up to the Court, on the application of the Commissioner of Police to determine to whom control orders are applied.
This approach, Senator Sinclair said is akin to that which presently exists under the Criminal Justice Administration Act but is however restricted to deportees.
Under the law, Control Orders are imposed for a term that the court considers necessary, up to two years at a time. This can be renewed twice by the High Court on application from the Commissioner of Police, to a maximum six years. When seeking a renewal, the police would be required to prove that a person continues to pose a real risk of engaging in a terrorism related activity.