Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 18th 2017 Contents news A5
Friday, August 18, 2017 guardian.co.tt
PM sends crime
plans to Kamla
Acting Attorney General Stuart Young
yesterday questioned why Opposition
Senator Gerald Ramdeen was delaying
the possible passage of two packages of
legislation that would help in the fight
against crime and criminal elements.
Young raised the issue at yesterday's
post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic
Centre, St Ann's, saying that since August 4,
2017, he had sent Ramdeen two separate pack-
ages containing draft/proposed legislations to
tackle the anti-gang legislation and zones of
special operations and community develop-
ment that exists in Jamaica. But to date, Young
said he had not received a response from Ram-
deen and wondered his reason for the delay.
Young said the packages were sent to Ram-
deen following the July 18 meeting between
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Per-
sad-Bissessar, where they held productive
Among the items that arose in those discus-
sions between both leaders, Young said, was
the promise that the Attorney General would
share certain proposals and draft legislation
with the Opposition "in the area of anti-gang
legislation." Rowley also promised to provide
the Opposition with statistical data.
On August 4, Young said he wrote to Ram-
deen informing him of the two packages, one
which dealt with zones of special operations
and community development similar to what
exists in Jamaica.
"The Government in Jamaica only has a one-
seat majority that allows the Prime Minister, on
the advice of certain elements of the Jamaica
defence force and police force, to declare cer-
tain zones .... zones where it would be akin to
giving them unique powers to go in and cordon
off those zones and do certain things.
"We have proposed this to the Opposition
as a discussion piece and as a part of a hope
that we could have a conversation with the
Opposition, as another way or method for
conversation as to how to deal with crime and
criminal elements," Young said.
He said they invited the Opposition to tell
them what difficulty they were having with
the anti-gang legislation, so they can work
together to come to Parliament, hopefully with
pieces of legislation that would be consensual.
"That took place at the beginning of August.
We have asked Senator Ramdeen to provide us
with a response, as to how they would want
to meet or in writing the proposals by the be-
ginning of this week."
To date, Young said they have heard nothing
from the Opposition.
"We have not even received a letter of ac-
In light of the Opposition's failure to re-
spond, Young said Rowley wrote Persad-Bis-
sessar yesterday, setting out a seven-page
spread sheet of some of the anti-crime and
non-legislative operational initiatives un-
dertaken by the various ministries and Gov-
ernment agencies in the fight against crime in
T&T that would pave the way for productive
discussions for the benefit of citizens.
"I trust that the Attorney General and the
Minster of Legal Affairs will hear from the Op-
position shortly as to what proposal it has with
respect to the pieces of legislation provided,"
Rowley wrote in his letter.
However, in an immediate response Ram-
deen shot back at Young, saying the packag-
es he received contained several bills. He said
while some of the legislation was "draconi-
an, it does not mean we would not support it.
What we want to ensure is that there is proper
balance between security of the State and the
rights of citizens before advancing sugges-
tions to the Government as to whether the
Opposition is prepared to support the pieces
Asked if the Opposition would meet the
Government now, Ramdeen said that decision
lies in the hands of Opposition Leader Kamla
"We are actively considering all the draft
pieces of legislation. And we are actively con-
sidering how these pieces of legislation will
affect the criminal justice system. These things
must take time. He (Young) forget the Parlia-
ment is on recess. The last time I check it is
the Government that must propose legislation
and pass it in Parliament and the Opposition
will support it or not."
Ramdeen said the passage of legislation
would not solve the problem unless the fun-
damentals in the criminal justice system are
"Fundamental to that is weeding out the
corrupt police officers, fixing the Forensic
Science Centre and ensuring that matters can
go through the courts in an efficient manner."
Ramdeen also maintained the Government
has never invited the Opposition to a meeting
to discuss the issues at hand.
Cape results out today
Education Minister Anthony Garcia
says students performed better in this
year's Caribbean Advanced Proficiency
Examination (Cape), the results of which
are expected to be released today.
A total of 8,140 students sat the exams,
of which 4,750 were female 3,390 male and
Garcia said 95.06 per cent of the students
achieved acceptable Grades 1 to 5 in Cape's
Unit 1, as compared to 94.6 per cent last year.
"In addition, of the 33 subjects, we found
that in 25 of those subjects students scored 90
and above. In Unit 2 94.01 per cent achieved
acceptable pass grades. In 2016, 94.44 per
cent of the students passed. Of the 32 subjects
in Unit 2, 24 of the subjects students scored
90 and over," Garcia said.
"However, of great significance, perfor-
mance of students at high levels Grades 1's
and 2's in Unit 1, this year was 53.05 per cent
as compared to 48.19 per cent in 2016."
He added that in Unit 2, a 52.29 per cent of
students received Grades 1s and 2s, as com-
pared to 47.2 per cent last year.
Garcia admitted he had already received the
CSEC results, but said the results were yet to
be assessed by the ministry. (RD)
Cabinet has approved $53.6 million for
upgrade works at the Golden Grove Re-
mand Yard Prison in Arouca, including
toilet facilities in the cells.
This was revealed by National Security Min-
ister Edmund Dillon at yesterday's post-Cab-
inet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre,
The upgrade works will also include elec-
trical and mechanical systems upgrade and
The facility was constructed since the 1940s
and consists of two-storey buildings - the
North Wing and the South Wing. It featured
180 cells originally designed to house three
inmates each, but because of the current over-
crowding situation cells now house between
eight to ten inmates. There are approximately
1,000 inmates at the remand yard.
With respect to the pail system still in use at
the facility, Dillon said while there are com-
munal showers and wash rooms between both
wings and at the outer ends of both wings,
"the continued use of the pail system in the
cells was of serious safety, health and unsan-
itary concerns, affecting the inmates as well
as prison officers."
"We will also be looking at upgrading the
sewer and waste water treatment, plumbing
and fire protection system, also look at the
electrical system, ventilation and air-condi-
tion system (not for inmates) and the CCTV
system," Dillon said.
The project is said to be a long term one,
spanning over the next five years.
Recommendations have also been made
to further upgrade works at the Immigra-
tion Detention Centre (IDC) - a cost that has
been requested for allocation in the upcoming
2017-2018 Budget. Currently, the roof of the
facility is being repaired and the air-condi-
Dillon admitted to challenges for the detain-
ees at the IDC, saying that many of them do
not have travel documents because they may
have entered T&T illegally and also may have
destroyed their respective travel documents.
"It is difficult for some of them to be iden-
tified as to what nationality they are," he said.
Dillon added that there are also repatriation
issues where embassies, high commissions and
family members also fail to present tickets for
those to be sent back to their home countries.
"What happens is that the State now has the
responsibility to send them back and some of
them are from Nigeria and Ghana. In fact, at an
average we repatriate about 100 per month."
No leads in
rude text case
Police are attempting to identify a
35-year-old man who made sexual ad-
vances to an 11-year-old girl via WhatsApp
messages but had no leads yesterday.
Screenshots of conversation between the
man, who is married, and the child were
posted on social media on Wednesday. The
man promised the child that he would give
her money, buy her a Samsung cellphone, in
exchange for sex.
Yesterday, the Child Protection Unit began
enquiries into the case and were attempting
to find the source of the messages.
The Children's Authority called for mem-
bers of the public to come forward with in-
formation to help catch the man.
Acting Attorney General Stuart Young shows members of the media documents which were
forwarded to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar following recent discussions between
Government and the Opposition last month, during yesterday's post-Cabinet press briefing.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
...Young questions Opposition delay on issue
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