Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2013 Contents A5
Friday, August 30, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan is insisting that soldiers must
be given police powers to assist in
the fight against crime. However,
he may return to Parliament with
an adjustment to the previous leg-
islation he attempted to bring on
Ramlogan made the comment fol-
lowing yesterday s two-hour crime
meeting between the Government
and the Opposition at Tower D,
Waterfront Complex, Wrightson
He said police powers for soldiers
was not raised during yesterday s
meeting but he intended to raise it
next week when the parties meet
again for more talks on crime.
Responding to questions on the
performance of the police in the
wake of several homicides in east
Port-of-Spain this month, the AG
said in situations "when you have
open gang warfare and you know
that the police need the back-up of
the soldiers, we can, by legislation,
give the soldiers the additional pow-
ers, privileges and immunities that
they require to respond with equal
force and measure."
Ramlogan added: "You cannot
expect them to go in there if you do
not give them the legal necessary
armour and body cover they will
Asked specifically if he raised that
matter in the meeting, Ramlogan
said: "This issue has been raised
before and it is one that we intend
to pursue in the discussions next
week. It is one that we have to con-
sider as a nation."
The AG added: "It is clear that
the argument soldiers should not be
given police powers because they
were trained to kill, that argument
is ironically perhaps the argument
that is best suited as to why you
He said the gangs were "not just
trained to kill but they are killing
and you have to have some deterrent
in this matter."
He said in addition to all the social
measures being implemented by the
Government to deal with crime,
"there must be some strong forceful
response to the exchange of gunfire
that can see a 16-year-old girl s body
riddled with 16 bullets on the side
of the road."
Ramlogan said based on available
evidence, the police required the
support of the army in certain areas
to deal with gang violence.
He said the proposed legislation
would limit the police powers to sol-
diers for gang-related violence, drug
trafficking and gun-related offences.
He said soldiers were to be used
"as an extreme last resort in situ-
ations where the police are out
gunned, out manned and they need
that kind of reinforcement."
Contacted after Ramlogan s com-
ment, however, the Opposition said
it was not likely to support that
measure, which it described as "a
Commenting on yesterday s meet-
ing, Ramlogan said it was a progres-
He said draft legislation to facilitate
the implementation of the death
penalty and nullify the Privy Coun-
cil s Pratt and Morgan ruling would
be presented for the consideration
of the Opposition.
He said the partial abolition of
trial by jury and a new system for
the appointment of the Commis-
sioner of Police and deputy com-
missions also was discussed.
Commenting on behalf of the
PNM, Opposition Senator Fitzgerald
Hinds said it wanted the Govern-
ment to make the Caribbean Court
of Justice as the country s final court
He said the appointment of a
Commissioner of Police, establish-
ment of a special agency for infor-
mation-gathering and the appoint-
ment of 1,400 municipal police could
also be done almost immediately.
Former director at the Housing
Development Corporation Andre
Monteil has been cleared by the
Integrity Commission in a com-
plaint filed by former chairman
of the Congress of the People Roy
In a release issued yesterday,
the commission said Augustus had
claimed that Monteil was in breach
of the Integrity in Public Life Act
in relation to a $60 million invest-
ment by the HDC in Clico Invest-
ment Bank deposit instruments.
In 2007, Monteil, while he was
the HMB chairman and group
financial director of CL Financial,
had purchased seven million HMB
shares at a price of $110 million
through his private company Stone
Street Capital Ltd.
The T&T Guardian understands
that the sale of the HMB shares,
which were owned by Clico, was
approved during a March 22, 2007,
The commission said it received
legal advice on the matter.
The advice, which was accepted
by the commission, said in part:
• There is no evidence that Mr
Monteil provided the HMB finan-
cial statements on the basis of
which the valuation of the shares
• There is nothing to suggest
any wrongdoing on Mr Monteil s
part in not informing the HMB
Board of his intentions to purchase
the HMB shares.
The commission said yesterday:
"There is also no evidence that
Monteil had anything to do with
HDC s decision to make the
The commission said: "To the
extent that no stones have been
left unturned it is time to bring
this investigation to an end."
The Government will be tabling legislation
immediately to introduce a new system for the
election of aldermen in local government bodies
in time for the October 21 local government
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yes-
terday announced the introduction of the sys-
tem of proportional representation for the elec-
tion of aldermen, which she described as
The legislation will be taken to the House
of Representatives when Parliament reconvenes
on September 6 and then to the Upper House
on September 10.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet media con-
ference yesterday, she said: "This is a unique
and attractive idea that I wish to introduce in
our local government elections.
"It will represent a historic foray into the
virgin territory of proportional representation
which many feel is an idea whose time has
Under the new system, councillors will con-
tinue to be elected in the same way they are
now elected under the first past-the-post
Westminster style system, but aldermen will
be elected by the population, she said.
"The current method for choosing aldermen
will be abolished. Every vote will now count,"
the PM said.
"The time has come to have the aldermen
elected by the population and not selected by
the councillors after an election.
"Our examples over the years have shown
us that this process can be manipulated and
controlled by political deal-making and political
indiscipline to the detriment of the population,
who have no say in what the councillors may
want to do after they have been elected."
The PM said all councils will have their
complement of aldermen increased to four to
ensure there is no inequality between councils
where aldermen are concerned.
Further, the recommendations of the Elec-
tions and Boundaries Commission for the seat
distribution and boundaries in existing councils
will be implemented.
Asked if the Opposition was consulted about
the introduction of proportional representation
legislation, the PM said the bill will not need
a special majority.
She said with the introduction of a mixed
system of election using the first past-the-
post system for existing electoral districts and
a system of proportional representation for the
election of aldermen, the Government is seeking
to expand the electoral process in local gov-
"The expansion will ensure that every vote
will count in every district, because those votes
will be used to calculate the allocation of the
seats of aldermen," Persad-Bissessar said.
"Even if a single party were to win all of the
seats on the first past-the-post system, there
will more than likely be an allocation of at
least one alderman to another party, which
will ensure that another political voice would
sit on such a council."
The proposed aldermen will be known by
electorate up front because all political parties
will be required to provide a list of their names,
She said proportional representation legis-
lation was proposed by the Principles of Fairness
Persad-Bissessar said the Municipal Cor-
porations Act is more than 20 years old and
there is a pressing need for local government
She said the concept of proportional rep-
resentation has been advocated as a fairer and
stronger system for many years now.
Urging all parties to support this historical
change, the PM said she looks forward to the
support of all parties in the House for the pas-
sage of the legislation.
Persad-Bissessar said legislation for term
limits for prime ministers and the rights to
recall MPs are also in the making.
Ramlogan insists soldiers must help police fight gangs
'We need more force'
PM: Let the people decide on aldermen
An L&J Landscaping employee
cuts the lawn along the Brian
Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday, as preparations
continued for this weekend's
Independence Day celebrations.
PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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