ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi advised Naparima MP Rodney Charles to properly phrase a question to the Judiciary about people on remand, if he wanted to get a concise answer to that question. Al-Rawi offered that advice to Charles in absentia in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Charles was one of three UNC MPs who were excused from Wednesday's sitting. Also granted leave from the sitting were Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe and Mayaro MP Rushton Paray. Charles' question, which was asked by Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee involved the number of people awaiting trial on remand and the average number of remand cases that were determined by the courts for the last five years.
In response, Al-Rawi said, "You can't get more vague than that." He added that Charles' question was not specifically drafted. "We do catch the gist of what the member is saying and the Judiciary has said that they will need to go back, notwithstanding all of their data capture mechanisms, to go and tailor make an answer for this (question) which unfortunately is not capable of being today."
Al-Rawi said the Judiciary advised him the answer to this question was not as straightforward as Charles believed it to be. He said the Judiciary is currently improving its research and development portfolio "so that it produces the data analysis that is required from stakeholders."
Al-Rawi added the data capture will have to be "tailored in a very specific way." Referring to Charles' question, he said, "The question posed can lead to misleading figures as the numbers will not take into account, persons who have been remanded and who have had their trials heard."
Al-Rawi said, "It is also important to recognise strides made by this Government in reducing the remand population." He added this included the introducion of plea bargaining and the decriminalisation of marijuana. Later in the sitting, in response to another question from Charles that was asked by Lee, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said the police spent a total of $22,799,710.21 to rent vehicles in fiscal 2020.