THE Opposition opted not to support a government bill to deny bail for 120 days (four months) to anyone caught in illegal possession of military-grade weapons (for use or for trafficking) in the House of Representatives on Friday.
The Bail (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2019 was previously passed by the Senate last November to curb possession of any “prohibited weapon” defined as "artillery or automatic firearm, or grenade, bomb or other like missile.”
On Friday the Opposition abstained. The final vote was 19 votes for, zero votes against, and 19 abstentions.
The bill needed a three-fifths special majority of the House's 41 MPs, equating to 25 votes, it failed.
Earlier, Opposition Whip David Lee vehemently complained that the Opposition had been given no notice beforehand that the House would be debating the bill.
Government Whip Camille Robinson-Regis said the bill was included on the order paper, which itself constituted notice to the world. She said debate had been completed previously and she was surprised by Lee's objection.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi moved that the bill be sent to committee, where it was considered for a few minutes, after which it was returned to the House, where a vote was taken, leading Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George to declare the bill was not approved.
Afterwards, Al-Rawi, in moving a motion to debate a joint select committee report on the Private Security Industry Bill 2019, hit the Opposition's failure to support the Bail Bill's attempt to curb illicit possession of machine guns and grenades, but Lee objected on the grounds of relevance.