ALL nine Independent Senators (including those acting) Wednesday voted with the Government to pass the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2019, which tightens access to bail to a repeat offender involved in firearm crimes.
All six Opposition Senators voted against the bill. It was passed by 24 votes “for,” six “against” and no abstentions.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi had earlier implored senators to back the bill, saying the country has a choice of either having criminals behind bars or the population behind the bars of their burglar-proofed homes and gated communities.
“Let’s gate up, gate up, gate up!” the AG said, warning of a continuation of the current state of affairs if the bill were to fail.
“We have a choice: Let all the accused people out and forget the concept of bail, or just incarcerate the rest of TT as they are currently incarcerated.”
He said that during the Iran/Iraq War as a youngster in Iraq, even as Tomahawk missiles flew overhead, he felt safer than he does today in TT.
Turning to Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein, the AG said “Saddam” means one who hits out and one who opposes.
“I wonder if the Opposition bench is all Saddam, just to oppose.” He said the country is "doing and dying" as senators spoke.
Al-Rawi said a 120 day curb on certain accused individuals being given bail had already helped stem a previous kidnapping epidemic in TT, at a time when people had sought to implant microchips in their teeth so they could be tracked if seized, even as kidnap insurance was booming.