Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:23 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Al-Rawi: Crime problems after PNM plans scrapped
The PNM’s public relations officer Senator Faris Al-Rawi said the dismantling of the opposition party’s crime initiatives such as the Special Anti-Crime Unit, removal of three police posts in Laventille and east Port-of-Spain, as well as cancellation of contracts for offshore patrol vessels have contributed to escalating crime now affecting T&T.
He said so at a press conference after the PNM’s general council meeting at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Asked whether the party had a change of heart and will be supporting the government’s Capital Offences Bill if it returns to Parliament, Al-Rawi said the PNM members in the House of Representatives made critical observations relating to the proposed ammendment of the legislation when it was brought to Parliament in 2011.
Back then, Government was unsuccessful in its attempt to pass the legislation as 11 PNM members voted against it. It needed a special majority of 31 votes. However, Al-Rawi defended the PNM’s decision not to support the Bill, “Amending the law in the manner last proposed by Government would have resulted in the laws of T&T, which is that hangings are to be carried out for murder, treason, being prejudiced.
“It is the desire of the Government to track the process from the assizes, the High Court where one is convicted and sentenced to hang, through the assize process, through the Privy Council and international courts. But the Government has not given an explanation as to why in its fourth year, it has not been able to hang a single person under the existing laws, when it has received the largest budget package in the history of T&T.”
Al-Rawi asked, “What has Government done with the money approved by the Parliament in relation to improving the criminal justice system to allow the existing law as it relates to hanging to be carried out?” He said Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley will continue to meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to discuss the crime situation. He said calls were made to meet with her since 2010 after the Government began dismantling crime fighting initiatives.
“We want to note that this government has realised that after incredible tragedy it was always a good idea to have police posts in east Port-of-Spain. The Sautt, which was scrapped by this government ran an anti gang division in that area and all of their good work on gangs was thrown away,” Al-Rawi said. Meanwhile, PNM chairman Franklyn Khan said crime is not a political issue and the PNM will work towards solving this problem.
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