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Senators push for cell phone jamming at Westgate

Opposition Senators yesterday called on Government to ensure that cell phone blocking technology be employed at the Island’s prisons.

Sen Marc Daniels noted that a cell phone jamming mechanism is in place at Westgate prison and called on the authorities to implement it.

“One of the techniques and tools available is in place and its something that could be utilised to a greater extent,” said Sen Daniels. “The question is always going to come down to willpower.”

He continued: “A more heavy handed approach has to be taken in terms of utilising what tools we have at our resources right now.”

His remarks were supported by independent Sen James Jardine. “If such a technology is available it should be instituted immediately,” he said.

The call came as the Senate discussed the Prisons Amendment Act 2013 which toughens control and penalties for importing contraband items into the Island’s prisons.

The list of contraband items includes cell phones, controlled drugs, firearms including imitation firearms and offensive weapons.

The law, which was approved by the Senate, increased prison terms from six to 12 months and increase fines from $500 to $2,000.

Opposition Sen Diallo Rabain noted that people who pay the bills of cell phones that are used by criminals should also be prosecuted.

“If you seize a cell phone I’m sure there’s a way of investigating backwards to find out who purchased the phone and paid the bills,” Sen Rabain said.

“I would like to see us do more to go after those people as well.”

The number of members of the Parole Board was increased from five to seven with the Senate’s approval of the Parole Board Amendment Act 2013. The Opposition Progressive Labour Party gave its full support to the measure — the Parole Board Amendment Act 2013 — on Friday.

The amendment, introduced by Sen Jeff Baron, requires that one of the additional members must have technical knowledge or expertise which will benefit the Board in its deliberations.

Senators also approved amendments to the Companies Act which remove a requirement for companies to file a prospectus with the Registrar of Companies before issuing shares if they are already listed on a stock exchange or accepted by a “competent regulatory authority”.

And amendments to the Firearms Act were also approved.

The Firearms Amendment Act 2013 allows importation of certain firearms required for shooting competitions — in time for the NatWest Island Games which will be held here in July.

It gives the Commissioner of Police discretionary power to grant firearms licences to Bermuda residents for the purpose of participating in sanctioned shooting competitions for up to 12 months.

Opposition Senators approved the measures but cautioned that it was prejudicial to Bermudians engaged in shooting sports and not enough consultation had been done.

The measures had been opposed by the Opposition in the House of Assembly.

Westgate Correctional Facility

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Published June 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm)

Senators push for cell phone jamming at Westgate

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