PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley last night gave in to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s demand for a two and a half year Sunset Clause in return for the Opposition’s support for critical anti-gang legislation.
The PM’s announcement came during a press conference he held at the VIP Lounge of the Piarco International Airport shortly after his return from a Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Questioned by reporters on Persad-Bissessar’s demand which she made at the UNC’s Monday Night Forum in San Juan, for a sunset clause to be inserted in the legislation, Rowley at first appeared unwilling to accept this demand.
However, near the end of the press conference in which he also spoke about Caricom’s concern on the state of West Indies cricket, the Prime Minister gave in. “If the opposition is only prepared to give country’s police two and a half years for a Sunset Clause on the Anti-Gang Legislation, then the government will take it.”
He noted that in two and half years, there will be a general election and when Parliament is dissolved, there would be no government to renew the bill when the sunset clause expires.
He said the Opposition was in the political doghouse with the population after its members last year voted against the anti-gang bill in Parliament.
Unfortunately though, Rowley said, the Opposition continues to play games while the crime situation in the country continues to spiral out of control. The police needs time to collect evidence, he said. For the year, according to police sources, over 90 murders have been committed with a large portion being attributed to gang activity.