Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday, in the Senate compared the debate in Parliament on the Anti-Gang Bill to the movie Groundhog Day.
The premise of the movie, Al-Rawi explained, was that the central character had to relive the same day over and over, until “that soul learnt a lesson” and the cycle was broken. “I must confess that the Anti-Gang Bill, the reintroduction of the law into the body of laws of TT to discourage criminality, has felt like Groundhog Day,” Al Rawi said. To that end, Al-Rawi presented to the Senate a statement similar to the speech he made ten days ago in the House of Representatives when the bill was read and eventually passed. This followed the bill’s defeat in December when, needing a three-fifths majority to be passed, UNC members of the Opposition voted “No” while Prakash Ramadhar of the Congress of the People, abstained.
Al-Rawi, like he did before, gave a historical outline of the bill’s progress to date. The only thing new to be added to the debate was that, seven months after he had written to them, the Law Association had finally responded on Monday night to his letter seeking their input on the legislation.
“Their letter is now in the public domain I expect it to feature in the course of this debate. There are certain observations they have made and I am prepared to entertain some of the points raised. It isn’t the tidiest arrangement to have the Law Association take a whole month to comment on 19 clauses, where 15 of them were a replication in large part to the law as it stood in 2011. Nonetheless I express my gratitude for finally giving some commentary,” Al-Rawi said.
He also noted that since December 8 when the law was stymied in the House of Representatives, to March 6, there had been 131 murders, 39—or about 30 percent—of which were described as “gang-related.” This, he added, did not include shootings and woundings.