Amendments to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act were made law in December last year. This week two attorneys have voiced some concerns on the new law, saying that it infringes on the rights of particularly the poor in the country. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow told Love News he disagrees with this view point.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

ďSome of the criminal attorneys say thatís draconian, well I donít agree with that at all; thatís already the way it is for example with drugs and thatís the way itís been from time immemorial. What this does is to force the actual owner or the actual possessor of the firearm to admit to his possession rather than see other family members, or friends, other occupants of the vehicle or the premises being charged. I donít know that I can say that there is no question at all of this rule working hardship. There always has to be a balance and in Governmentís effort to deal particularly with the possession of illegal firearms we have to stay one step ahead of the criminals and in my view that is what the amendment is designed to do.Ē

The Prime Minister adds that while the government is indeed taking some serious measures, their intentions are to protect the right of the many.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

ďThey are looking at one side of the equation. The fact is we are trying our very best to decrease, especially the incidents of gun violence, the crimes involving the use of a firearm in this country and the Government is taking serious measures and we will continue to do so. Whatever criticism that we get for it we will have to accept. We think the larger good, you always have to balance the rights of the few against the rights of the many and we are opting to protect the rights of the many. Whatever criticisms these attorneys, who in fact are seeking to practice their profession, and thatís okay; whatever criticisms they want to make, thatís fine. They feel strongly enough then go to the constitutional court and challenge the legality of what we are doing and let that be the final decider.Ē

The Prime Minister also responded to the allegation of government not having made proper consultations before passing the new laws.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

ďWe introduced it into the National Assembly, there is then a provision for the bill to go to a House Committee which holds meetings to consider the bills at which the public can come and make representation. I donít know that there were any great representations made, where were the lawyers then who are complaining now? They canít have it both ways. They keep complaining government needs to do more in terms of trying to get the crime situation under control, when we do more, they complain, no man to hell with them.Ē

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