In the wake of the deaths of former museum curator, Dr Claire Broadbridge and 76-year-old Chaguanas resident, Ramdevi Singh, former Minister of National Security Gary Griffith is calling for the decriminalisation of pepper spray to help curb attacks against women.
Griffith made the remarks yesterday via a media release, in which he cited a recent campaign spearheaded by his wife and former Senator, Nicole Dyer-Griffith to amend section 2 of the firearms act which prohibits the use of pepper spray.
"Again, the benefits of pepper spray for law abiding citizens allows them a chance which they may not have acquired when confronted by a criminal element, and this has proven to save many , especially women, from being killed, kidnapped, beaten, robbed or assaulted."
Addressing concerns from police that the decriminalisation of pepper spray would increase crime, Griffith said that was not possible, as most criminals use much more deadly weapons in their trade, adding that the firearms act was outdated and has left many citizens defenceless in the face of criminals. For this reason he implored Parliament to make the necessary adjustments to ammend the act.
"For this decision to be ignited, it rests with Parliament to amend an outdated law that presently makes it illegal for citizens to carry pepper spray and depriving them of an opportunity to possess a tool that could have been used to defend themselves when attacked."
Despite his support for the issuance of pepper spray, Griffith said that electric guns or tasers were weapons which could result in death if improperly used.
"The taser gun is a completely different tool, which can and has been used on numerous occasions not as a defensive weapon, but as a weapon to attack, hurt and even punish others."
He added that while public should not be allowed to access tasers, they could prove useful to law enforcement in subduing assailants, provided that they receive proper training.