Michael Troupe, Councillor for the Granville Division in St. James and Leeroy Williams, Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation
The need for stronger legislation to loosen the grip of criminals on St. James was discussed extensively at Thursday's monthly meeting of the municipal corporation.
It was held as the police were searching for nine-year-old Gabriel King, who was murdered after his mother's vehicle was carjacked.
Lamenting the spate of murders since the start of the year, Michael Troupe, Councillor for the Granville Division, said a strategy is needed to deal with crime in the parish.
Arguing that the criminality in the parish was as contagious as the flu, he urged the Mayor of Montego Bay "to call a forum as quickly as possible with all the stakeholders in St. James" so they can "come up with a strategy [of] how we are going to keep the crime...at a manageable state".
The Mayor and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Leeroy Williams, said every effort must be made this year to implement new legislation which the government has said will have more punitive measures for gun crimes.
"It is time the legislation that seeks to create severe penalties for traders of illegal firearms and ammunitions as well as persons with illegal possession of firearms to be promulgated and implemented. I am therefore calling on the government to expedite this process so that the murder by guns can be curtailed," he declared.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has said discussions are taking place to ensure sentences under the new gun law regime are severe but also allow room for plea bargaining.