Opposition, Independents question effectiveness of Bill

UNC Sen­a­tor Sad­dam Ho­sein is ques­tion­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of Gov­ern­ment’s Firearm (Amend­ment) Bill and not­ed the pro­posed law would be test­ed in the courts.

He said the bill which pro­pos­es ma­jor in­creas­es in penal­ties — in­clud­ing life in jail for a third of­fence of pos­ses­sion of an il­le­gal firearm — would verge on the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers be­tween court and ex­ec­u­tive. He added the bill would not re­duce the num­ber of guns on the street and would fail as a scare tac­tic un­less sys­tems were fixed.

 

He cit­ed the low de­tec­tion rate and lack of mi­cro­scopes at the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre to test bal­lis­tics.

Ho­sein al­so ques­tioned if the pro­posed law would ap­ply to pend­ing charges.

UNC Sen­a­tor Ani­ta Haynes al­so said while Gov­ern­ment has been de­tail­ing the sit­u­a­tion on crime fac­ing T&T, it had not been giv­ing so­lu­tions.

In­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor Hazel Thomp­son-Ahye said some youths in­volved in crime in T&T now talk about how many “ghosts” they have been mind­ing - peo­ple whom they have killed.

She not­ed youths are grav­i­tat­ing to gangs to pro­vide them with the fam­i­ly they lack. She said sim­ply in­creas­ing penal­ties would not re­duce crime and one had to at­tend to so­cial con­di­tions and make peo­ple feel like they are val­ued. She felt crime would not dis­ap­pear with one bill since “When you lock up one set of crim­i­nals, more will come.”

Thomp­son-Ahye said while “Gary” (Grif­fith) was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion, she “prays for him as he has the most dif­fi­cult job in T&T”. But she said some­times it was hard to dif­fer­en­ti­ate who are crim­i­nals and who were those meant to up­hold the law. How­ev­er, she said not all po­lice were bad cops.

Reporter": Gail Alexander

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