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Saturday 21 October 2017
Politics

Opposition consulted on new anti-crime law

Stuart Young

Clint Chan Tack

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley has sent legislation proposing the creation of “zones of special operations and community development” in TT to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

This was disclosed by Acting Attorney General Stuart Young at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s.

In a signed letter dated August 17 to Persad-Bissessar, Rowley said Young sent two packages of draft/proposed legislation to Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen to give to her as a continuation of their “productive” meeting at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Centre on July 18 about legislative measures to address the country’s crime problem.

The letter was hand-delivered to the Opposition Leader’s Office in Port-of-Spain yesterday.

One package dealt with zones of special operations and the other dealt with anti-gang legislation.

Rowley also provided Persad-Bissessar with a list of Government’s anti-crime operational initiatives as promised. These included a counter terrorism policy and strategy sent to the National Security Council for approval; establishing a computer security incident response team to deal with cyber crimes; establishment of Police/Army bases in Enterprise and Laventille; engaging Interpol to establish a sub-office in TT and increasing the number of crime scene investigators in the Police Service from 15 to 75.

Young said legislative packages were hand delivered to Ramdeen on August 4. He said the zones of special operations legislation was unique and currently existed in Jamaica.

Young explained that allowed the Jamaican prime minister, on the advice of the Jamaican Defence Force, to declare certain places as, “zones where it would be akin to giving them new powers to go in and cordon off those zones and do certain things” to treat with criminal gangs operating in those zones.

Young said Government hoped, “that we can have a conversation with the Opposition, as to another way or method on how to deal with crime and the criminal element.”

He also said Government hoped the Opposition would discuss ways to pass effective anti-gang legislation in Parliament. Young said Government had not received any word, to date, from the Opposition as to when they would want to meet or any written responses from the Opposition regarding the legislative packages sent to them.

He told reporters that the special operations zones legislation in Jamaica was supported by that country’s government and opposition. He reminded reporters that the Jamaican government only had a one-seat majority in the Jamaican parliament.

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