Opposition PNM MP Amery Browne has challenged Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to explain how certain clauses of the state of emergency regulations relate to crime rather than the current industrial climate. Browne has pointed to clauses 7, 13 and 14 of the Emergency Powers regulations (2011) under which the current state of emergency was instituted. These clauses debar public meetings, marches and processions unless with the permission of the Police Commissioner.
It also prohibits use of amplification of instruments.
Clauses also seek to debar people from influencing people to breach the peace and on endangering public safety and other activity. Browne said: "I challenge the Prime Minister to say how these regulations are relevant to what they are deeming an anti-crime initiative because the sentiments of many citizens are that such measures in the regulations seem more designed to treat with civic, industrial and political unrest." Noting aspects of the Government's handling of the situation, Browne said: "The Government has not been honest with the population with the measures that have been imposed or the rights that have been withdrawn and for what duration."
OWTU leader Ancel Roget spoke on the matter on Wednesday. On the reason for the state of emergency, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the Prime Minister had cited the upsurge in crime and recent large drug hauls. Ramlogan said the state of emergency was part of a wider crime plan and was a medium term aspect. (GA)