Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2015 Contents KEVON FELMINE
Despite a call by the Law
Association for the repeal of
the Bail (Amendment) Bill,
2015, Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar says T&T
cannot strive to fight crime
while wanting to scrap legis-
lations aimed at creating a
Saying the bill was a good
piece of law given the request
from acting Commission of
Police Stephen Williams and
the statistics on guns, Persad-
Bissessar yesterday noted that
it was passed in the Senate on
Tuesday night with full support
of the Opposition People s
National Movement (PNM) and
some Independent Senators.
Speaking to reporters after
distributing keys to different-
ly-abled Housing Development
Corporation (HDC) applicants
at SAPA, San Fernando, yes-
terday, the PM said while repeal
was not an option, the legisla-
tion contained a census clause
that allowed them to review it
in the future.
She added: "We are still of
the view that this is a good
piece of law given the circum-
stance that we have. We cannot
say that we want to fight crime
each day but when we bring
very strong pieces of legislation
we want to pull back.
"This kind of measure was
used for that period of time
when we had all the kidnap-
pings. There was a similar posi-
tion of no bail for 120 days for
kidnapping for ransom.
"Given the scenario now,
where almost 72 to 75 per cent
of the murders being commit-
ted are being committed by
people holding guns, we think
it is a good measure.
"Of course there is the census
clause, in that it can be
reviewed at a future point in
time but we affirm with con-
viction that this is the way to
go forward now."
She said Government had
heard concerns raised about
possible abuse of the law by
corrupt police officers who
would plant guns on citizens.
Taking that into considera-
tion, she said the bill initially
had a clause which stated that
once a person was found with
or committed a crime with a
gun, it would be sufficient to
deny the person bail.
However, she said Govern-
ment felt it would be too dan-
gerous to the bill and opted to
deny bail to repeat offenders.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, April 3, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar presents paraplegic patient Marcus Ganesh and his eight-year-old daughter, Emily, the keys to their new
HDC home during yesterday's key distribution ceremony at the South Academy for Performing Arts, San Fernando. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
PM not budging on Bail Bill
Good piece of law
While admitting that parts of
Minister of State in the Ministry of
the People and Social
Development Vernella Alleyne-
Toppin's statement against
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
last week were inappropriate and
despite continued calls for her
removal, Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar again said
yesterday that she would not fire
her.She added: "I share the concerns
with some citizens who felt that
parts of her statement may not
have been appropriate. I discussed
it with her, she has apologised and
I have accepted her apology. She
remains as minister.
"She apologised unreservedly
within a short space of time. I
think by the very next day she had
apologised for, as I said, parts of
"There are other parts of her
statements that still leaves a lot of
questions that have remained
unanswered at this time."
Despite repeated calls for the controversial
Bail (Amendment) Bill 2015 to be repealed,
Attorney General Garvin Nicholas says Gov-
ernment will be pressing on and it will be pro-
claimed within a month.
The Law Association has voiced its concern
over the bill, which was tabled in the Parliament
last Tuesday, calling for it to be repealed on the
premise that it not only threatened the consti-
tutional rights of those arrested for possession
of illegal guns but also created avenues for corrupt
cops to frame people.
People charged under the bill could be denied
bail for up to 120 days, the new law states.
Speaking on TV6 s Morning Edition pro-
gramme yesterday, Nicholas was adamant that
a strong message had to be sent to gun-toting
individuals bent on terrorising law-abiding cit-
"The reality is over the last 15 years we have
seen a very significant murder rate, but the reality
is there are still too many gun crimes in T&T.
In order to protect our citizens we have to under-
stand our own reality and we must legislate for
our own reality," Nicholas said.
Asked if those charged under the legislation
were less equal and could be denied their con-
stitutional rights for the greater good of society,
he summed it up as a balancing act.
"The Constitution allows for this balancing
act and all legislation is drafted and considered
based on a balancing act.
"From the very beginning of the legal system,
where we gave the right to the police to stop
and search us or arrest us, it was because society
decided that in order to be protected, we needed
to give up some of our rights and we need to
balance our present circumstance as we legislate,"
Saying the law acted as a mechanism to deter,
punish and rehabilitate, Nicholas said there was
the dire need to deter young men from using
guns in this country.
"It is out of control and we really need to get
a handle on it. As I have said dangerous and
serious crimes have fallen but there is still that
issue of too many illegal guns floating around
in T&T," Nicholas said.
He said he did not anticipate any legal challenge
to the bill, as he was confident the legislation
would stand the scrutiny of any court.
"Because we have attempted to address the
balances. What we have also done is that this
legislation has given us a sunset clause... it
actually only runs for 16 months," Nicholas said.
He said the bill was actually "less punitive"
than some of the other legislation already on
the books, such as the gang and kidnapping leg-
The AG also dismissed concerns regarding the
police "setting up" people.
"Yes there are concerns and deficiencies in
the criminal justice system. We understand that
and we are working on that," he said.
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