Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is expressing disappointment at the ineffectiveness of the police in enforcing the Anti-Gang Act. He was speaking at the meeting yesterday of Commonwealth North Atlantic Law Ministers held in commemoration of the country’s 50th year of Independence. It took place at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann’s. “I have received reports from the Commissioner of Police informally which suggest the Anti-Gang Act has been working the way its envisaged,” Ramlogan said. He said the act has two functions: To have a psychological effect on gangs and to allow the police to enforce the law. “I am not too happy with the second aspect of it. I think the Police Service needs to do a lot more to enforce the anti-gang laws in the country so we can have arrests and prosecutions under the anti-gang law,” Ramlogan added. He said he expected the Police Service to have completed its training and education regarding the act. “It is my fervent hope the Police Service will use the law and in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions get prosecutions under the law,” he added.
Saying he was “quite happy” with the first aspect of the act, Ramlogan said the intelligence gathered by police had demonstrated that the act was a successful deterrent. He added: “I know for a fact that the intelligence we have been gathering suggests the mere passage of the anti-gang law has had a deterrent effect on young people wanting to join gangs, on gang leaders wanting to recruit young persons and that has served its purpose. “The anti-gang law has been a novelty in our legislation. The Police Service obviously needed time to come up to speed with it.” He said since the state of emergency, police have been receiving training and consultation with several senior defence attorneys. He added: “At the same time they have been trying to put together pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to be able to understand the gangs, their structure and modus operandi. “From what I have been told, I think the police are ready to make a dent in any gang-related activity.”
On cyber-crime, Ramlogan said Government was seeking to bring legislation, perhaps in the next session of Parliament, to tackle the problem. Saying it was a very serious issue, Ramlogan added there was a unit within the Police Service to deal with cyber-crime. He warned posting comments online could be risky, as one could be easily charged with defamation. He said: “Even in the media there is the facility of online posting with the three daily newspapers…you can posts comments online. “That has caused its own challenges for the media because you can defame someone quite easily without any consent or admission from the media house and it could have very damaging effects.” The attorney general also spoke out against human trafficking.
The 2012 Trafficking In Persons Report showed T&T maintaining a tier two ranking for not fully complying with minimum standards for elimination of human trafficking but making significant efforts to do so. The report said T&T was a destination, source and transit country for sex trafficking and forced labour. Saying he would leave no stone unturned, Ramlogan said: “Human trafficking has occupied the attention and focus of the office of the attorney general since my assumption of office in 2010. “In 2009, prior to the election of this Government, Trinidad and Tobago was identified internationally in the Trafficking in Persons Report as a point of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking.” Ramlogan cited the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2011, which criminalises the offence of human trafficking for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago. It created very specific protection for women and children who were victims and contained very specific mechanisms which would deal effectively with detection, prosecution, public education and assistance to victims in relation to human trafficking, he said.