Attorney General Faris- Al -Rawi yesterday called out the Opposition UNC to support the Evidence Amendment Bill to deal with the “monsters” in T&T – and he pointed out that part of the bill the UNC refused to support was approved by the PP/UNC Government in 2013.
“But today we have an opportunity to stop ‘monsters’, “ Al- Rawi said in Parliament in debate on the Bill.
The Bill is intended to allow evidence in electronic forms including via CCTV for court .
It deals with evidence by children and formats are designed to protect witnesses also. But Al- Rawi noted the Opposition had refused to support it .
Referencing the murder of court clerk Andrea Bharatt, the AG told the Opposition: “It is all well and good to put up a candle and hold a vigil when we have an opportunity to play our roles in Parliament . Stop playing games!!”
“No need to hold a candle on a pavement, crying for a child – murdered ! When you can turn up in Parliament and be consistent with your policy and reform the laws,”
“Each one of us must do our part. The part of the elected MP is in the Parliament! I call on the Opposition and its leader to put the people of T&T first! End the charade! “
“Crocodile tears on a pavement after a tragedy doesn’t help the people – support the Bail Bill, the Anti-Gang Bill and others,” he added.
Al- Rawi said in the face of Bharatt’s murder, T&T in the periodic but traditional reactionary mode, “retreated from its cave” to cry out for what must be done on problems . But he said yesterday’s debate was an opportunity to stop the “monsters” which this country wrestles with daily.
“Monsters’ which savage our children, elderly and loved ones,” he said
He added that the Bill presented ways to treat with evidence gathered against “monsters” and its clauses had widespread support from groups.
Al- Rawi noted Persad- Bissessar was absent from Parliament when he was speaking. But he said that in 2013 the PP/UNC Government under Persad-Bissessar had approved policy for the Bill but nothing was done. Part of what was approved by the PP was anonymity of witnesses.
However, Al- Rawi said that under this Government, when that same condition to protect witnesses was discussed in a committee, UNC’s Saddam Hosein strenuously objected to it although other stakeholders wanted it.
“What is the difference between 2013 policy approved by the PP and the law which we as a country fight to get?!”
He said “monsters” can walk in T&T because no one was courageous to stand and fix the situation with evidence and passage of the bill delayed that. While it is no “magic bullet” for crime, he said it would help police have a consistent approach on crime.
Al- Rawi said one of the Bill’s clauses would remove money from crime and stop “monsters” from getting profits. “ Why is a person with 70 charges out on bail? Why do trials collapse and bail is restricted – the answer lies in the inconsistency of evidence management.”
Conditions in the bill could also reveal to the law, the “monsters” driving “PH’ and “H” cars he added,
Further detailing clauses, the AG, who’d thundered his arguments, said in the UNC’s direction, “Let’s leave those who would protect ‘monsters.’”