Last update: 11-Dec-2013 8:26 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Govt, Opposition in more crime talks Thursday
The third round of crime talks between the Government and the Opposition is carded for Thursday at 3.30 pm, Opposition Whip Marlene McDonald said yesterday. Asked whether the Opposition would be pushing for Government to put into effect some of the ideas which have been raised, McDonald said that was one of the aspects on which to be focused. She said the discussions were progressing but was reluctant to give further details. “Let us talk. When we finish we will let you all know but we have been progressing,” McDonald added. Government and Opposition members are expected to meet at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
The crime talks started at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, two Thursdays ago. Both parties made recommendations on several anti-crime initiatives, such as the resumption of hangings, a new criminal offence of illegal home invasion, a new system to select a police commissioner, urban renewal in areas at the centre of crime, a new parliamentary standing committee on crime and implementation of the Selwyn Ryan report. Senator Fitzgerald Hinds said yesterday he would be attending Thursday’s talks again but said the Opposition could only offer help and suggestions but it was up to the Government to implement the recommendations.
Asked what was the specific purpose of Thursday’s meeting, Hinds said it was a continuation of previous talks and also an opportunity to clear up outstanding issues. He added: “At the first meeting we agreed on an agenda. The second meeting we outlined items of the agenda, some we settled, while some the Government went away to consider. “This Thursday’s talks, they (government) will come back to tell us what they considered and we will have further discussions,” Hinds said.Though describing the talks as having made “great progress” Hinds said the Opposition made it clear it was not prepared to engage in any “long, watery, drawn-out discussion.
“We have offered to help and we have given the Government our assurance that once they want our support on the issue of crime, we will offer our recommendations,” Hinds said. Contacted yesterday, national security adviser to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Gary Griffith, said it was difficult to give a timeframe for when recommendations would be carried out as Government was still “sifting through the pros and cons.” “Recommendations have been made on both sides and talks are still taking place, so at this time it is difficult to say for certain about implementation,” he added.
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