Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, inviting him to meet to discuss the Miscellaneous Provisions (Anti-Gang and Bail) Bill 2016 and the crime situation in the country.
The Government is seeking the Opposition's support in the bill that will be read in the House of Representatives on Friday.
The Government intends to seek a two-year extension of the legislation, which restricts bail for kidnapping, gun possession and gang-related offences.
Persad-Bissessar has said in the letter: “In recognition of the critical nature of the legislation in the fight against crime and the Government’s failure to engage the Opposition in any consultation to date on this Bill, I wish to hereby invite the Honourable Prime Minister and relevant Ministers of Government to meet with my team and I at a date, time and venue of mutual convenience.”
She added, “In one breath the Rowley-led Government is claiming to be against politicizing crime, but on the other hand they are making crime a public relations affair; talking about issues of Opposition support, but making absolutely no move to consult and partner with the Opposition for a full and comprehensive crime plan.”
“The Cabinet spokesman harped on the issue of responsibility and Opposition support, but in one week has made neither verbal nor written contact engaging us in a participatory approach. So yes, the Government has failed in yet another very critical endeavor and rather than focusing on their failure, the Opposition will take up the issue responsibly.”
The former Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said: “Our Shadow Cabinet Anti-Crime and Legislative Team stands ready to meet and cooperate with the Government so that we can arrive at a comprehensive plan to turn back the tides of crime. And we are calling on the Government to finally treat the issue of crime with urgency and work with us for a plan that will benefit all citizens.”
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