Let’s debate the Anti-Gang bill today.
This was essentially Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s response yesterday to Prime Minister Keith Rowley’s acceptance of the Opposition’s proposed two and a half year sunset clause for the bill.
Debate on the bill failed last December due to lack of Opposition support without a sunset clause. But Government and Opposition have been talking recently on the crucial legislation which seeks to increase police powers to deal with gang-related offenders.
There is still no agreement between the opposition and government on the time frame of the sunset clause of the anti-gang legislation.
The opposition and government met today to discuss the opposition's concerns about the bill.
The opposition maintains that the sunset clause is critical in preventing the abuse of power by law enforcement officials.
The opposition raised several issues including its call for Joint Select Committee of Parliament to facilitate wide consultation on the draft legislation, however, the government declined the proposal.
Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP, has today repeated her call for an urgent meeting with the Government to discuss ways in which the Government and Opposition can work together in the fight against crime and the criminal element.
The Opposition Leader today responded to correspondence sent by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
The following is a statement by the United National Congress:
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has written to the Prime Minister requesting a meeting of the Government and Opposition to address a legislative approach to tackling rising crime.
The Opposition Leader has suggested that the two parties begin with discussions on the Anti-Gang Bill and the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.
The following is the letter issued by the Opposition Leader:
"The citizens of our country have been experiencing an unprecedented level of criminal activity. Last year (2017) four hundred and ninety-four (494) persons were murdered.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is issuing a clarion call to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to man up to his responsibilities as prime minister and stop the blame game.
She says playing politics will not bring any comfort and security to terrified citizens.
"It is sickening that the prime minister would use the heinous and gruesome murders of innocent 15-year-old schoolboy Joshua Andrews and taxi driver Devon Hernandez to try to score cheap political points," Persad-Bissessar said.
The Parliament has confirmed that one nominee, Paula Mae-Weekes will face the Electoral College on Friday for the post of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, after both members of the Government and the Opposition agreed to Justice Paula-Mae Weekes.
Fourteen members of the Government and Opposition signed the nomination paper.
The following is a statement by the Parliament;
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has announced that the Opposition will support the Government's nominee of Paula-Mae Weekes for the post of President of the Republic.
It means Paula-Mae Weekes will be elected unopposed as the next President of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Opposition Leader says part of her support for Weekes is due to the fact that she will become the first female president of the country.
Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has described today’s meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and his team to discuss the nomination of an individual for the position of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as “cordial and productive.”
Persad-Bissessar indicated to the Prime Minister that the Opposition is keen on working with the Government to move this process forward, in the interests of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.