The UK Foreign office is monitoring events in Trinidad and Tobago's state of emergency carefully for any significant deterioration of human rights, the Office has informed a PNM unit in the UK. The 'PNM Abroad' unit headed by Pearce Robinson contacted UK Minister of Foreign Affairs Williams Hague on T&T's SoE and implications for human rights in the country. Robinson, in a statement yesterday, said he received a reply from Michael Braun of the UK Foreign MInistry's Caribbean Desk. Braun said in his letter: "Our High Commission in Trinidad & Tobago has been observing the evolving (SOE) situation very closely."
"Our reporting has shown that constitutionally, the State of Emergency was correctly enacted, but we are monitoring events carefully for any serious deterioration of human rights, and remain in close contact with our local network of human rights defenders." Meanwhile, the Opposition PNM has condemned statements by People's Partnership Minister Roodal Moonilal on the Anti-Gang legislation. The PNM said the Government had found itself in the very difficult situation of having to explain to the national community how- after almost 500 people were arrested under the legislation- many were now being released due to insufficient evidence.
The PNM statement said Moonilal attempted to blame the PNM for misleading the Government on certain provisions in the legislation. The PNM stated: "Contrary to what Moonilal said, the Opposition neither requested nor negotiated for any amendment with which the Government was in disagreement." The PNM said it had warned the Government against proceeding in a certain way with the legislation. PNM added: "The outcome of Government's insistence now results in the possibility that many of these persons are now in a position to bring actions against the State for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and possibly for infringement of their constitutional rights."