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Friday 19 January 2018

AG: Opposition must back Anti-Gang Bill

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the Opposition had no excuse for rejecting an anti-gang bill drafted by them which could now be even better effected than before by way of better intelligence-gathering.

At yesterday’s post-Cabinet news briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Al-Rawi said the bill, driven by the demands of the police and the need for public safety, would remedy cases where gangsters boasted online of their deeds, guns and gold chains, and would stymie unrest at Enterprise and the Beetham.

He added Cabinet would lay the bill in the House of Representatives today for debate next week. He said the bill was once law under the former People’s Partnership (PP) government, so the Opposition must support its return to the law books. Al-Rawi claimed the People’s National Movement in Opposition had backed 96 per cent of PP government legislation.

He said the bill was supported by better insights into gangs, improved police intelligence, better witness protection, and proclamation of the Strategic Services Agency Act. Saying the bill had once been good enough for the police, law-courts and PP, without any of them negatively reflecting on it, he hoped Opposition support would be won by a Government going an “extra mile and a half” to assuage the Opposition.

He said the Government had given details to the Opposition but they had shifted the goal-posts by urging the bill be brought to Parliament. Blaming recent Beetham unrest on gang activity, Al-Rawi said, “The country has got to say enough is enough. What has to happen as well, is an intolerance to goal-post shifting.”

Saying he was unique as an attorney general in extending courtesies to the Opposition, he said, “I want to caution against lumping all politicians in the same dirty pot.”


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