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AG: T&T could be blacklisted

Published: 
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
If anti-terrorism bill not passed today
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi speaks during the sitting of the senate yesterday. PICTURE OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

While Government says its anti-terrorism bill must be passed at today’s Parliament sitting or T&T will be blacklisted by 190 countries, one Muslim group has taken issue with certain recent remarks by the Prime Minister and hopes the Opposition “stands strong” on the bill.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament yesterday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi pointed out the need for amendments in the bill to be passed when it returns to the Lower House’s final (committee discussion) stage this afternoon.

“This bill is ‘Fatca on Steroids’ - to stress how significant it is and the urgency to pass it,” Al-Rawi said.

“T&T faced sanctions by the US only with the controversial Fatca legislation. But if we don’t pass the Anti-terrorism Bill T&T faces sanctions by 190 countries and those sanctions—like Fatca—have to do with correspondent banking and brokering, affecting the economy.”

Al-Rawi said he had noted that although the bill was examined by a Joint Select Committee, the Opposition now wants changes in the law all the way from where it was first passed in 2005 despite the fact the Opposition had voted for changes in it since then.

“The Opposition is simply trying to frustrate in this exercise,” he said.

Today’s discussion on the bill comes as Parliament concludes outstanding matters to take its mid-year recess after July 6.

Yesterday, Government Senate leader Franklin Khan said if the bill is passed in the Lower House today the Senate is prepared to meet on Thursday and Friday to approve the Lower House’s changes.

Yesterday, however, Muslims of T&T PRO Imtiaz Mohammed said his organisation hopes the Opposition “stands strong” on points which some quarters—though happy with some aspects—are still concerned about. Mohammed said their points are especially underscored now following remarks by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last weekend at ASJA’s Eid dinner.

Mohammed noted the reported statements by the PM for Muslims to “reject” any conversations that the Government was trying to impose any “anti-Muslim” law or policy.

Mohammed said, “The Prime Minister’s remark seems aimed at our criticism of Government’s Anti-Terrorism bill. But if people have concerns on this the Prime Minister isn’t the voice of the Muslim community to call for anyone to ‘reject’ conversations.

“We understand Government needs the Muslim support desperately to win the Barataria by-election, but if so they shouldn’t say that points we make about the bill aren’t important or valid. If they want to convince anyone they should reveal the results of the probe of the Carnival plot.”

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