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