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Sunday 21 April 2019
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Opposition ‘optimistic’ after anti-gang talks

THE OPPOSITION say they are “cautiously optimistic” following a meeting with a Government team on the anti-gang legislation despite no agreements on a sunset clause and a Joint Select Committee (JSC).

In a release on Friday it was reported that an Opposition team led by Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal and Naparima MP Rodney Charles, Senator Gerald Ramdeen and Senator Anita Haynes met with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Minister Stuart Young and Minister Fitzgerald Hinds at Parliament to attempt to arrive at “an agreed bi-partisan legislative approach to the fight against crime and the criminal element.”

The Opposition described the meeting as a positive step towards arriving at a legislative formula for the passage of critical legislation in the fight against crime that will meet with the approval of both the Government and the Opposition.

“The Opposition remains cautiously optimistic that these discussions and similar collaboration going forward will lead to consensus between Government and Opposition on the passage of important and critical legislation that would serve the public interest.”

The Opposition reported at the meeting the team raised its concerns once again regarding the length of the sunset clause, the ability of the Government to provide adequate resources to the Police Service as well as other agencies of law enforcement as well as the readiness of the Police Service to operationalise this legislation. Importantly, Government agreed to the Opposition Leader’s recommendation to waive standing orders 122 and 126 to allow for the Anti-Gang Bill to be brought back to Parliament before the before the end of the present parliamentary session, the Opposition reported.

The Opposition team also highlighted several weaknesses in the amended draft bill as submitted by the Attorney General, which Government assured would be taken on board and addressed.

“The Opposition reiterated its call for a sunset clause of no longer than 24 months; however there was no agreement on this issue.

The Opposition maintained that the sunset clause is critical in order allow for the Parliament to review the manner in which the legislation is put into effect by law enforcement.

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