ATTORNEY GENERAL Faris Al-Rawi promised to present figures to MPs during debate next week to show how well anti-gang legislation has worked in recent times.
He was speaking to Newsday on Thursday.
On Friday, the House of Representatives will debate the Anti-Gang Bill 2020, which had its first reading last Monday, and which extends the life of the Anti-Gang Act 2018 for 30 months more.
Al-Rawi said TT needs the Anti-Gang Act 2018 to continue, so as to supplement advances in the police and judiciary to fight criminals.
Meanwhile, sources said the Opposition is yet to caucus on the bill, even as Opposition MPs wish to hear what the AG says in piloting the bill, including his views on how the act has worked in practice.
Al-Rawi told Newsday, “We need this law to continue. It is very useful. We will bring statistical evidence to show that.”
He said it was a very simple bill and he had given the Opposition early notification of it.
Al-Rawi contrasted his Government’s 2018 act with a predecessor act passed by the People’s Partnership government, which he said had ousted the jurisdiction of law courts. He said under the PP’s act, thousands of people had been arrested under a state of emergency, only to be released and the State had to pay them millions of dollars in damages.
Al-Rawi said the material difference between the PP’s act and the 2018 act was that the latter was supplemented by other developments. He listed these as the Government having appointed Gary Griffith Commissioner of Police and a radical reform of the police service. More notably, there have been significant reforms in the judiciary and in legislation for the prosecution of gang-related offences.
“Also white-collar offences are now in the anti-gang law, which the UNC had opposed,” Al-Rawi added.