UNC PRO Anita Haynes has responded to Attorney General Faris Al Rawi's comments that the Opposition was not supporting certain bills by saying he is "a stranger to the truth."
Haynes made the comment in a media release yesterday.
“The Attorney General’s recent accusation that the Opposition is not supporting certain bills is a complete fabrication," she said. "The Opposition supported each of the bills mentioned by the Attorney General often after rigorous debate and strengthening of laws to protect citizens’ rights. Once again, Mr Al-Rawi is a stranger to the truth and is engaging in a desperate attempt to try to deflect attention from his incompetence.”
Haynes claimed Al-Rawi was being "intentionally deceptive" in accusing the Opposition of refusing to support key pieces of legislation including the Anti-Gang, FATCA, child marriage and Income Tax Amendment Bills, and the Sexual Offenders Registry.
She said a simple fact-check would show that the Opposition "raised a number of concerns regarding the Anti-Gang Bill and proposed critical amendments which were included, and after rigorous debate, we supported this legislation; proposed and got agreement for amendments to the FATCA legislation with gave the public a right to know and this after the legislation was examined thoroughly in a Joint Select Committee which the Opposition lobbied for; voted for the Marriage Bill; and has made it clear that it supports the Sexual Offenders Register Bill in principle."
However, she added, "It is clear that further consultations are needed since at least 14 non-governmental organizations have indicated interest in providing feedback on the bill. In this regard the legislation was sent to a Special Select Committee to facilitate this."
She said the Opposition has always maintained that it would support good law that seeks to uphold and protect the interests of the people of TT and the same applied to the Income Tax Amendment Bill.
"The Attorney General bungled the legislative process and butchered the draft legislation to the point where the result was a bill without the ability to satisfy any of the legislative aims for which it was proposed, and now he is attempting a futile public relations stunt. Consequently, last week, the European Union (EU) listed TT among 23 states with weak anti-money laundering regimes and which pose terror financing risks. The Attorney General pushed through watered-down legislation to give the appearance that the Government was taking measures to meet international requirements. He then attacked the EU for his failure to meet the minimal requirements of the legislation, then publicly chided the EU for taking this step."
Haynes said Al-Rawi's watering down of the Income Tax Amendment Bill made a mockery of the Parliament.