OPPOSITION Senator Gerald Ramdeen said with the murder rate soon everyone will need a gun to protect themselves. He was contributing to debate on an Act to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago Act, the Customs Act and the Exchange Control Act.
He said there should be a change to the Commissioner of Police granting firearm users licence and instead set up an independent commissioner and body.
“So you people can have a fair shot at getting a firearm. There are people in this country who really need a firearm to protect themselves and their family. And the way we are going it might be, with the rate of murders we having in this country, everybody might need a firearm to protect themselves.”
Ramdeen said only those who can pay end up getting firearms. On the legislation he said while there were international obligations it seemed that we were following the lead of other countries but with 56 years of Independence the country can do better. He said the clauses was adding offences at the Magistrate Court and High Court level but these institutions needed to be fixed. He pointed out that at the San Fernando Court the only ventilation was a Lasko brand fan.
“Is the Government really serious about the administration of justice?” Ramdeen said the legislation infringes upon the rights of citizens and should have been brought with a special majority. He also said the legislation adds additional powers to the Financial In telligence Unit (FIU) but in their 2017 annual report there were a number of challenges highlighted including budgetary constraints and high staff turnover.
“If we don’t fix the systems the legislation will not work.” He said the FIU had detected almost $22 billion of money passing through the system that is the subject of suspicious transaction but the number of prosecutions by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was so low. He suggested giving the FIU, Police Complaints Authority and the Integrity Commission powers to prosecute the offences created by the act. “It is about time we realise the system is not working.