Last update: 09-Dec-2013 8:52 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Moonilal wants tougher laws for home invasion
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal says legislation with harsher penalties to deal with home invasion and illegal evictions may be taken to Parliament soon, since these actions are akin to terrorism. Speaking with reporters at Soomai Trace, Debe, on Monday night, Moonilal said he had spoken to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan about introducing specific legislation to deal with those issues.
He added: “It may well be that we will go to Parliament to craft particular offences of home invasion and unlawful eviction of occupiers and tenants. As it is now the police have the information and they are looking into the matter. They have an inquiry ongoing but I have been in discussion with the Attorney General and it will be dealt with in the coming days.” He was referring to a recent incident at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, in which a tenant was evicted by a gang who then occupied the apartment.
That led to a subsequent crackdown on illegal tenants by the Housing Development Corporation at apartment complexes in Port-of-Spain. When he acted as Attorney General last week, Moonilal said he met with the technical people to see what offences for home invasion and illegal eviction could be strengthened with harsher penalties. “I believe that if the penalties are very harsh and persons are caught, they are detected and they are prosecuted, it will send a message.
“We have to be careful that this doesn't become a regular incident in the country where people believe that they can just go into an HDC apartment, fling out somebody from a window and take possession of the apartment,” he said. “The related offence has to be an offence of threatening, the offence of threatening and intimidation almost akin to terrorism.
“Several HDC tenants are terrorised by gang elements so that we have to look at offences of intimidation, harassment, threat to lawful tenants and home invasion and unlawful eviction,” he added. Commenting on calls by interim Independent Liberal Party leader Jack Warner to implement policies he worked on during his tenure as national security minister, Moonilal said those policies were approved by the National Security Council.
“Those matters that he is calling for are already in place. They are already in train, like the construction of court in Remand Yard and so on. Those things are in train now. Things like that don’t happen overnight you know. You know he is calling for things that are already in train,” he said.
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