Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on government to bring the Anti-Terrorism Bill to Parliament for debate early in the New Year as TT is facing a serious national security threat from returning ISIS fighters.
“We face a serious threat in this country and I do not believe enough attention is being given to it and that is with respect to returning people from ISIS,” she said adding, “Information that has come to us and to the government as well is that we are under serious threat and serious risk.
“I call upon government to bring, at the earliest, the Anti-Terrorism Bill for debate in Parliament. Let us meet on it, debate on it and we can arrive on consensus, rather than go to Parliament where stubbornness prevails sometimes. This is a serious threat that is not new, but one which has not been in the forefront as (has) the abnormal rise in crime.”
Persad-Bissessar was speaking to reporters before her annual toy distribution at Penal Rock Road on Monday. She observed that there was need for a proper immigration policy given the scarcity of jobs and the influx of people fleeing Venezuela as that country continued to battle a severe economic downturn.
“Our country is already overburdened and we cannot meet the basic needs of our own citizens. We cannot turn a blind eye to others. There must be a proper policy in place and done in a manner accepted internationally,” she said, adding, “We have so many concerns, for example, about Venezuela, we have so many Venezuelans in Trinidad, and then where our jobs are scarce and crime rate is so high, we need a proper policy.
“The government has no plan or policy in place for these serious issues and we need a serious immigration refugee policy.”
She also commented on allegations made by Dr Roodal Moonilal at Friday’s parliamentary sitting saying the Oropouche East MP had not made any reckless statements about the prime minister.
“I think Moonilal was not reckless in what he did. He made statements based on information and he asked questions, and it is now for the PM to threaten to shut you up,” she said.
“Same thing happened when I raised the fake oil news in September. In fact, they sued me. I was sued by Baksh. But we do have freedom of expression, and where there is justification we should be allowed to keep that. It cannot be that the prime minister gets angry when you say something about him and he threatens to sue you to shut you up. I mean, listen, no one went through as much bad things as me and I did not run out and threaten to sue.”
Persad-Bissessar said her Christmas wish is for “love and hope” saying better days were coming for the people.
“This is 25 years of toy drives in my own constituency, and when we do this every year, we remember the spirit of Christmas. That is why we give, and I make a special appeal to our supporters and others, in a time where there is great need, we have seen prices of food gone up, all new taxes and putting back of the VAT on the food – this year we need to give,” she said.