National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang
National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang is coming under pressure from the Jamaican Bar Association (JAMBAR) for comments that criminals are committing more robberies to pay their lawyers.
The Bar Association is demanding Dr. Chang retract the statement and apologise.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Dr. Chang sought to explain the recent upsurge in armed robberies, arguing that some of the incidents are "a result of gangsters looking for money to pay lawyers because you have intercepted them and arrested a number of their colleagues."
But the statement has drawn the ire of the Jamaican Bar Association.
In a letter to Dr. Chang on Thursday, JAMBAR President Emile Leiba described the comments as grave.
He said they suggest that lawyers are either causing the increase in robberies or are benefiting from the crimes.
Mr. Leiba said he is alarmed at the comments and is demanding Dr. Chang produce evidence to support the claims.
The Bar Association president said the entire legal profession has been cast in a negative light by the National Security Minister's comments.
He argued that Dr. Chang's comments will cause Jamaicans to harbour suspicions about lawyers and threaten the right of accused persons to legal representation.