Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah has blamed both the ruling PNM administration and Opposition UNC for failing to pass the Anti-Gang Bill as both parties were using crime as a political football.
The Bill, which required a special majority to pass in the House of Representatives, was defeated last Thursday after Opposition members voted against the Bill.
At a media conference yesterday at the MSJ’s St Joseph Road, San Fernando headquarters, Abdulah said neither party had displayed any maturity nor political will to pass the Bill.
“We want to say categorically that both the Opposition UNC and the government PNM failed in their responsibilities as legislators, as members of Parliament they both failed the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
“And what we are seeing is the very unseeingly, quite disgusting actually of back and forth, across the Parliamentary aisle, as each of these two parliamentary parties have attempted to use this issue of crime in general and the anti-gang legislation in particular as a political weapon with which to attack the other,” Abdulah said.
“Crime must not be used as a political football in Trinidad and Tobago because crime affects all of us regardless of party affiliation, or support, regardless of the communities in which we live, regardless of gender, age and demographics,” he said.
He observed that the Bill’s passage was hindered after both parties failed to arrive at a suitable consensus for a sunset clause which would have marked the end of the proposed legislation.
“If they were mature, if they were thinking about the country, they could have simply found a resolution and negotiate and they could have arrived, assuming they both wanted the legislation passed, they could have arrived at a sunset clause of three years,” he said.
However Abdulah noted that the anti-gang bill is not the solution to the runaway crime situation, saying violence in the society seemed to have become endemic and had to be addressed at the root level which included social and economic issues.
He said the MSJ would resume its “Citizens Intervention” platform in January to allow the population have their say on national issues such as crime and violence.