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Saturday 21 July 2018
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Community Comfort Patrols’ contract cost $120m

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh. FILE PHOTO

THE ONLY beneficiary of the Community Comfort Patrols under the previous administration was the contract to rent vehicles for $120 million a year, says St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh.

“Why didn’t you take that money and put it into the judiciary?” he asked rhetorically.

He was contributing to debate in the House on Friday on the Criminal Division and District Criminal and Traffic Courts Bill.

He said the initiative was “all about the contracts” and those patrolling had no powers of arrest and no communication between them and the police.

“But that was the comfort police.”

He said with the legislation and the drug treatment court unit, Government was moving from a punitive to a more restorative system and it would put the onus on the addict to admit they have a problem and be part of the solution. He said Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal had asked why this Government was preoccupied with traffic offences. Deyalsingh said a common factor with criminal activity was the use of vehicles and this was why the Attorney General had brought a suite of legislation.

On the traffic court aspect, Deyalsingh said the magistrates’ courts were clogged with traffic offences and there was a need to clear up the 50,000 cases.

“Think about how much judicial time and police time would be freed up.”

He claimed the Opposition was hell-bent on slowing the pace of the criminal justice system.

“Why is the UNC so afraid of legislation to follow the money? So afraid of any piece of legislation to make the delivery of justice quicker?”

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