“Government will introduce a new sentencing framework for young people,  including the establishment of a new classification of sanctions related  to different types of drugs,” the Throne Speech, delivered by Governer Sir Richard Gozney, declared on Friday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
“Government will introduce a new sentencing framework for young people, including the establishment of a new classification of sanctions related to different types of drugs,” the Throne Speech, delivered by Governer Sir Richard Gozney, declared on Friday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, NOV. 4: A crackdown on violent crime and gang membership is on the cards, Government announced in today’s Throne Speech.

Changes to the law will allow the seizure of cash and property “reasonably suspected” to come from crime while judges will be allowed to hit offenders with a financial penalty for some offences committed in connection with gang activity.

Government also gave a strong hint that decriminalization of certain drugs might be in the offing.

“Government will introduce a new sentencing framework for young people, including the establishment of a new classification of sanctions related to different types of drugs,” the Throne Speech declares. No further details were provided.

Delivering the speech on behalf of Government, Governor Sir Richard Gozney said: “Crime ranks closely behind the economy among Bermudians’ concerns.

“The way society deals with those who break the law is critical. In order to keep the trust and confidence of the people, Government believes it must introduce measures to protect the public from violent and dangerous offenders.”

Sir Richard added: “To mitigate the risk that an inmate granted parole with reoffend, legislation will be tabled to ensure that there is more structured collaboration between court services and the Bermuda Police Service, mindful of the independence of the Parole Board.”

In addition, Government plans to ensure that anyone sentenced to less than two years in jail will serve a minimum of a year behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Revisions will also be made to the minimum time served on life sentences, while judges will be allowed to use discretion to reflect the circumstances of a crime.

But Government said more effort will be made to keep offenders, especially young offenders, out of jail where possible.

Sir Richard said: “Incarceration should only be used where there is no other course of action, for example in cases where the seriousness of the offence, the history of the offender or the risk to the public is such that a prison sentence is warranted.”

Sir Richard added: “A critical component of the fight to reduce gang membership is preserving and strengthening the family unit, regardless of whether or not both parents live in the same home.

“The Government will provide the Bermuda Family Council with a statutory footing. The Council’s aim is to promote family cohesion through the development of effective parenting skills.

“Also in support of families, the Government will establish shared parenting legislation which will seek to avoid bias and provide parents with equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to the welfare of their children.”

Drink-drive penalties are also set to be increased, while roadside breathalyzer tests could be introduced soon.

Sir Richard added that mandatory “driving under the influence” classes will also be introduced for disqualified drivers.

 

What do you think? What the best way to tackle gangs? And would you support the decriminalization of certain kinds of drugs? Add your comment below.