Cellphone monitoring important to fighting crime — Nelson

Dwight Nelson

Goverment introduces mandatory registration of subscribers’

MANDATORY registration of subscriber information for all cellphone users is one of the initiatives the Jamaican Government is hoping will put a damper on criminal activities across the country.

Security Minister Senator Dwight Nelson, who made the announcement during yesterday’s sitting of the Senate at Gordon House in Kingston, said the requirement would prove “very important in the fight against crime”.

“The anonymity of cellular phones has been greatly exploited by criminals in the commission of very serious crimes, for example, the lottery scam and contract killings,” he told senators.

He was outlining the response of the Bruce Golding administration to the crime wave in the island, which last year claimed about 1,600 lives, and over 500 so far this year.

The latest victims included five-year-old Christina Salmon of St James, who was shot dead by armed men who fired on her father’s car while he was taking her and her older sibling to school. The child’s sister and her father were injured by the gunmen.

A St Catherine-based church deacon was also killed at his home in Spanish Town Thursday, drawing condemnation from a number of quarters.

Opposition Senator Sandrea Falconer, in congratulating the Government for bringing the cellphone registration proposals to the Senate, said it would prove very important, especially with situations like kidnappings.

“I know that a number of cellphones that are not registered can be used to commit all kinds of crimes…,” she said.

The Government has, in recent times, installed cellphone jammers at some penal institution to prevent prisoners from using cellphones which are often smuggled in some penal facilities, and used to direct cronies outside the prisons.

In the meantime, Nelson said the enforcement of the Proceeds of Crime Act will be strengthened by increasing the number of agents available to investigate financial crimes, particularly in the area of civil forfeiture. The minister said this would allow the authorities to seize the assets of criminals.

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