Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2015 Contents the PM said she met with the T&T
Chamber of Commerce and had
agreed to debate Rowley on July
30. But Persad-Bissessar said she
was very disappointed when told
the date had been cancelled.
Saying that she was still all for
the debate, the PM added that she
was willing, able and keen to take
on Rowley on July 30.
"I put the challenge to the Oppo-
sition Leader, who is contesting for
the post of prime minister, as I am
I say, Come on Mr Rowley let's do
this. Let's get on with it. Let us
now organise between ourselves
and give the people of T&T the
great debate they deserve. I am
ready for the debate."
But during a press conference
yesterday, Rowley said the PNM
never agreed to a debate on July
30, noting that the debates body
spoke to a date in August.
In addressing the crowd, Persad-
Bissessar said there were some who
believed the People"s Partnership
should not have held a meeting at
the Country Club. But she said the
PP was "a party of the people" and
could go anywhere throughout the
"I make no apologies, we will
take every city, every town, every
space until we take all of T&T for
the People's Partnership," Persad-
Regarding the crime situation in
Central, particularly in Enterprise,
the PM praised law enforcement
officials for their latest efforts, but
again warned they would not
negotiate with criminals.
Persad-Bissessar also threw jabs
at Independent Liberal party leader
Jack Warner, who was critical of a
march for peace in Chaguanas over
"There was a peace march in
Enterprise and somebody sent me
a text saying, We must get the
criminals off the streets but good
Lord Jack Warner still walking up
and down in Enterprise,'" she said.
National Security Minister Carl
Alfonso says the call by Chaguanas
Mayor Gopaul Boodhan for a gun
amnesty to be introduced in the
Enterprise, Chaguanas, area to
help get rid of illegal guns was
something worth considering.
Boodhan made the statement
during Sunday's peace walk in
Enterprise, which was hosted by
the Inter-Religious Organisation
He said the situation at Enterprise
had left many residents under siege
as warring gangs forced them to
remain indoors and curtail daily
Boodhan hoped a gun amnesty
would result in illegal weapons being
turned over to law enforcement
officials, especially in hot spot areas
and more so in Enterprise, which
recently began experiencing an
upsurge in violent crime and shoot-
During a telephone interview
yesterday, Alfonso commended
Boodhan for the call which he
labelled "good and noble."
Alfonso, however, said more dia-
logue was needed on the matter.
"I am sure he is as concerned as
everybody else about the number
of illegal guns that are out there
but first we need to find out what
exactly the mayor has in mind, as
there are legal ramifications to what
he is proposing," Alfonso said.
Alfonso said it was up to the
Ministry of the Attorney General,
as well as the Ministry of Justice
and the Cabinet, to approve such
Admitting he was also concerned
about the proliferation of illegal
weapons, not only in Chaguanas
but across the country, Alfonso said
he preferred to maintain a realistic
outlook as such an initiative might
not be fully embraced by all.
"I think it will cause some people
to come forward. It might not get
100 per cent support but I am sure
there are some people who will
come forward," he said.
However, former National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith said a
gun amnesty would not serve very
little purpose, if any, at this point
Contacted via cellphone yester-
day Griffith said that was not the
first time such a call had been made.
He said although the local sit-
uation was a grave one, the call
might have been premised on
results realised from gun amnesties
introduced in other countries,
where authorities might have been
seeking to recover weapons acquired
by private citizens for their personal
protection and which would not
have been used to commit any
He said gang members would
not heed the call as weapons which
might have been used in the com-
missioning of a crime would only
implicate those who were turning
over the guns.
Leader of the Enterprise Community masjid, Imam Taulib
Searles, does not share the view of a gun amnesty for the troubled
central Trinidad crime hot spot.
Searles said there were a number of factors which led to people
owning and having illegal guns and to have a gun amnesty would
mean further discussions to take place first on the issue.
"People who are fearful for more than one reason may tend to
have an illegal gun in his or her possession. Maybe they have been
a victim of some sort and in order to protect themselves, they have
gotten themselves an illegal firearm only because they cannot get
a legal firearm that easily," Searles said.
He suggested that more focus should be placed on the criminal
elements by the relevant authorities rather than seeking to have a
gun amnesty which he thinks may not be a success and solution to
the root cause of the problem.
Other residents of Enterprise poured cold water on the mayor's
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Chaguanas East MP Stephen Cadiz yesterday said he supported
Boodhan's call for a gun amnesty but added it was something that
must be properly consulted and done.
"There is a lot more to it, in terms of legal issues," Cadiz said.
"What if a firearm is turned in and upon ballistics it is found out
that firearm was used in a murder, what do we do from there?" he
CADIZ SUPPORTS CALL
Alfonso mulls gun amnesty
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Let s get this on.
This was the challenge Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar last night threw out to
Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley, urging him to take her
on "one-on-one, mano y
mano" in a "great debate"
which she said the people
Persad-Bissessar made the
comment during the UNC's
Monday Night Forum at the
Trinidad Country Club, Mar-
aval, where she also announced
that Attorney General Garvin
Nicholas (Diego Martin North
East), Jairam Seemungal (La
Horquetta/Talparo) and Clifton
De Couteau (Moruga/Tableland)
had been chosen to contest the
September 7 general election
by the party's screening com-
On the national debate issue,
PM in debate challenge to Rowley
It's what people deserve
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar holds hands with successful
general election candidates, from right, Jairam Seemungal (La
Horquetta/Talparo), Clifton De Coteau (Moruga/Tableland) and Garvin
Nicholas (Diego Martin East) during last night's Monday Night Forum at
the Country Club, Maraval. At left is Nicholas' son Alexis.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
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