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AG: Malicious attack on soldiers
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says the Opposition has “vilified” and “attacked” members of the T&T Defence Force (TTDF). He said “from day one” the Opposition raised concerns, which were quite erroneous about the Defence (Amendment) Bill, 2013. The bill was passed in the Lower House on Friday with 29 voting for and 11 against.
Ramlogan was addressing the concerns by the Opposition members that the Government was trying to make soldiers into police officers. In the Parliament on Friday, he said, “The Member for Diego Martin North East (Colm Imbert) used the term killing machines over and over.
“They have stood here and vilified and attacked the soliders...vilified and attacked them in the most malicious way, branding them killing machines...these men and women of the Defence Force who stood up for our country in the darkest hour in 1990 and defended the State. “They have stood up here and vilified them.” Another concern Ramlogan addressed was the possibility of political control.
He said soldiers fell under the executive arm but one of the provisions was when they have to act in the capacity as police officers, a politician should not be in charge. He said a provision was made to remove the political control and instead replace it to state that when soldiers are carrying out police duties they would not be subject to the general directions of the Minister of National Security.
He read the mission statement of the TTDF which, according to him, “is to co-operate and assist with the civil power in maintaining law and order and assist the civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster.” However, on the TTDF Web site, that fell under key functions. Ramlogan said, “The Defence Force is operating in the real world, in the real times, but the PNM is in backward times, is trying to tell them hold back, hold back.
“You see Mr Speaker, the reality is that what we are seeking to do is to give a measure of protection to the soldier and others.”
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