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Moonilal says Opposition not helping gov’t rewrite constitution

Monday, March 20 2017

Saying the Opposition UNC stands “ready, prepared, able and willing to support the Government and any other agency in fighting crime, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has however stated that the Opposition party would not help the ruling PNM Administration “rewrite the Constitution through the back door.” In a media release yesterday Moonilal reiterated that this position had been made plain to the government during his contribution on the Indictable Offences (Pre-Trial Procedure) Bill, 2017 in Parliament last Thursday.

Moonilal was also critical of the amendment which would give the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the authority to determine whether cases were sufficient to go forward in the courts. “Such action as contained in the proposed amendment gives the DPP the power of filtration, of filtering cases and proffering an indictment to the High Court, before the same person prosecutes the matter,” Moonilal stated.

Moonilal said the drafters of the Constitution never “anticipated the prosecutor would become a judicial officer as well” saying they wanted to have a magistrate or the Judiciary “filter these matters and the prosecutor would create his case with the police.” “By conferring onto the DPP the power to sit down and determine, to proffer an indictment without a judicial officer scrutinizing the information and the evidence before, is tantamount to undermining the constitutional structure and by so doing, you are defeating the Constitution,” he stated.



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