Former Opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds returned to the Senate yesterday, saying last week Monday's nationwide police roadblocks were more like the work of Isis. He was sworn in as a temporary senator for the absent Faris Al-Rawi before legislators began debate on the Bail Amendment Bill, which was presented by Attorney General Garvin Nicholas. He spoke about the establishment of a gun court in the country.
Hinds, who spoke after Nicholas, said the Opposition would support the measure but insisted the solution to all the country's crime and other problems would be "to see the back of the (People's Partnership) Government."
Commenting on the shutdown of the country just over one week ago, when police initiated roadblocks across the entire country, including Tobago, Hinds said the Government had "lost control for at least 24 hours."
He said none of the security agencies had any prior knowledge of the action. "Not the National Security Minister, nobody knew it was coming–not SSA, not SIA, not NSOC (NOC), not the chairman of the National Security Council–nobody knew," he stressed.
Hinds said, "It was almost like it was Isis, Mr President," he added.
Hinds, whose appointment as a senator was revoked in December 2013, told legislators he kept his promise to return to the Chamber.
He said the Government was "the biggest threat to the people of T&T." Hinds said he felt "more threatened by you (Govt) than I feel by the hands of miscreants out there with their dirty little guns."
He said the Parliament was misled in 2011 when it passed the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill in November of that year.
Hinds said while the Government said it would reduce the backlog of over 120 cases in the nation's courts "the upshot of that was two of their friends simply walk free."
He was referring to the extradition matters involving businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh. They are wanted by the US for matters arising out of the Airport Development Project under the former UNC regime.
Hinds said the existing bail system "is almost chaotic," adding that the Government had not fixed the existing problems.
According to the explanatory note, the bill seeks to amend Section 5 of the Bail Act to restrict bail in respect of certain specified offences that involve the possession or use of a firearm.
It says the amendment would preclude a court from hearing an application for bail from a person charged with the offences referred to in the proposed section unless no evidence is taken within 120 days from the reading of the charge.
It also provides for the legislation to be reviewed by August 15, 2016.