AS the country awaits a court ruling on bail for murder accused, the Prime Minister said he would do what he can to stop any change to the law to make murder a bailable offence.
Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and a team of lawyers, including Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, sued the State for damages for their client Akili Charles who was freed of murder in 2019, but had spent nine years in prison. Their claims includes a request for the court to consider removing Section 5(1) of the Bail Act, which deals with non-bailable offences, from the law.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi claimed the Opposition's petition was a bid to make murder a bailable offence. Lutchmedial accused the AG of contempt for speaking out on a matter which is still before the court.
Dr Rowley addressed the issue at a PNM meeting in Belmont on Thursday night. Speaking out against "heinous crimes", especially those committed against women and children, Rowley said, “...of all things we can ask for in this society is to have murderers get bail.
“I can tell you, as long as I have anything to do with it, that ain’t going to happen in this country if I could stop it.”
Rowley did note that bail is granted in other countries but asked if that should be the case for TT.
“That is not to say bail for murder is not practised in some countries, but is that what we want in TT?
“The answer is ‘no’. I speak for you. I trust that those who make the decision would make it on the basis that the people of TT do not want that as part of our environment.”
Empathising with citizens united by the death of Andrea Bharrat in their call for leaders to do what is right, Rowley said respect for each other is where they must begin to fix the problem.
“If we are raising boys and girls, we start there. We teach them to respect. If you are in the work place, out here on the streets talking to strangers, it is about respect. If you are on the playing field, playing a game with somebody, win lose or draw, it is about respect and we thank you for the game."
He said people should not call for justice when someone is victimised.
“We want to be in a situation where we shouldn’t have to call for justice. We should live justice. To be left alone, unbothered, regardless of what you are wearing, regardless of how you look, you should be respected and be allowed to live. That is the real justice.”
Rowley said his Government has been attempting to improve the criminal justice system by rolling out new laws, which he claimed did not receive the support of the Opposition.