A legislation to establish the MOCA as an independent national law enforcement agency focused on terrorism, major organized crime and serious corruption was listed among legislation to be tabled in the House in the parliamentary year 2017/2018.
This was outlined Thursday by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen during his delivery of the Throne Speech at Parliament’s ceremonial opening.
The legislation was anticipated to have been brought in 2016.
It is interesting that the Holness administration is set to table the legislation given the fact that the JLP, while in Opposition wasn’t in support of MOCA going independent.
Derrick Smith, then national security spokesman wss quoted as saying in 2015: “The Opposition totally rejects that MOCA should report to a political entity, instead of the Commissioner of Police. I brought our position as forcefully as I could to the attention of the minister when we discussed this issue, and I want him to be fully aware that we have not changed that position.”
He said that the Opposition had serious concerns about such a powerful policing body not being under the command of the police commissioner.
“Who then will be in charge? The minister? We are not talking about a regulatory agency. We are talking an investigative agency, with police powers and civilian employees and, therefore, should remain under the command of the commissioner of police,” Smith said then.
Prior to becoming an agency, the MOCA was a task force within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). It became an agency on August 3, 2014 after merging with the JCF’s Anti-Corruption Branch.
The focus of the new agency was expanded to include the facilitators of crime, including corrupt police officers, lawyers, bankers and family members, who knowingly accommodate or provide support to criminals and corrupt officials.
Proponent have said that an independent MOCA will be even more effective.