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Chuck admits criminals not deterred by longer sentences, but state must act

By Kimone Witter 

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says he accepts that harsher penalties such as moving the mandatory minimum sentence for murder to 30 years will not deter criminals, but the government has to act in anticipation of success.

Referencing the new Firearms Act and Tuesday's robbery of a supermarket in Manchester by gunmen, Mr. Chuck said it was clear that the penalties in the legislation were of no concern to criminals.

"These are persons who don’t fear the penalty and even when we put the penalty for murder at 30 years, they don’t fear the penalty. But the truth of the matter is that a state must not resign. We must find them and lock them away for long periods of time," he argued. 

He was addressing new Justices of the Peace in St. Catherine on Wednesday.

The robbers in Manchester stole $500,000 cash, a licensed firearm, 18 rounds of ammunition and several cellular phones from customers.

The hoodlums escaped in a waiting motor car but one of them was later found dead.

The police recovered more than 24 spent shells at the crime scene.