Bill tabled to regulate longevity and regenerative therapies in the country

HEALTH and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville.

HEALTH and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville.


Tribune Chief Reporter


POLICE have the technology to determine who is receiving assassination orders from inmates at the Bahamas Department of Corrections and the resources to prove someone is a gang member, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said yesterday.

His comment came before elected officials passed the Anti-Gang Bill 2024, which Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis called significant in the fight against crime.

The legislation empowers the Minister of National Security to apply to the Supreme Court to declare a group of people a gang if there are “reasonable grounds” to do so.

This “would advise and inform anyone in the public that to be a member of this group could open you up to prosecution”, Mr Munroe said.

 “A lot of people would say that they don’t know they were giving aid to the gang, and it would be incumbent on the prosecutor to prove that they are and again, because we want to open with the Bahamian public, the police have resources now that we will be able to know who you see and talk to. Some of it was on display at the techno week.

 “There is other technology that will permit us to know to whom these orders for assassination are being sent out from the prison, and so a declaration that this group is a gang will trigger prosecution.”

 Mr Munroe said it’s likely there will be “omnibus applications for declarations immediately” once the bill comes into force.

 The renewed focus on gangs comes as the country’s murder rate continues to climb, with 43 people killed so far this year, many of them believed to be gang retaliation.

 The Anti-Gang Bill describes gang-related activity as various acts of crime, including recruiting others to join gangs, retaliatory violence, kidnapping a person, threatening someone, or benefiting from a gang.

 Under the bill, people convicted of gang-related activity can face up to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, while anyone harbouring a gang member could be jailed for up to two decades.

 The legislation also addresses how gang membership could be proven with evidence, such as through people’s clothing, tattoos, body markings, signs or codes in their possession.

 Recruiting a gang member carries a 20-year prison sentence. When a child is recruited, members can face up to 25 years. This punishment also applies to those who try to prevent a gang member from leaving.

 Gang members found guilty of murder could face up to life behind bars.

 The bill also carries penalties for people who assist gang members. For example, those who conceal the identity of gang leaders, dispose of or share in gang-related proceeds, tip off gang members under investigation, or obstruct officers in carrying out their duties could face imprisonment.

 “These are harsh penalties, but they are here because these are harsh times,” Mr Davis said when he opened debate on the bill in the House of Assembly.

“I know there are those who, when they see the mother or grandmother or girlfriend in handcuffs, may feel a sense of sympathy for their situation, knowing they were not in the gangs themselves.”

“But it is an unfortunate situation. We are at the point where we cannot allow others to continue to support their loved ones in the commission of crimes without being held accountable.”

“We are bringing the hammer down on the gangs, their leaders, members, and supporters.”

 “If you are a gang member, if you associate with gang members, if you support gang members in any way in gang-related activities, you will run afoul of the law, and the full weight of the justice system will be moved against you.”


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