The Opposition United National Congress cannot give Government the authority of the Anti-gang bill since the UNC feels the Government could use the law to “lock-up” Opposition politicians and other people, accusing them of being gang members.
So said UNC MP Roodal Moonilal at Monday night’s UNC Forum meeting.
Noting the outcry against the Opposition which rejected the Anti-gang bill in Parliament last Friday he said,
“Many ganged up on the UNC, Some of those talking operate like a palm tree in a hurricane, swinging from left to right, anyhow the breeze blow. I’ve taken note of the all-out unfair attack on the UNC.
“This has been the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty by people who wear jacket and tie – maybe a bow tie – but read nothing. If you ask them how many persons have been arrested under the anti gang law – they don’t know, if you ask them how many persons have been charged under that law – they don’t know. If you ask them how many persons have been convicted under that law – they lost.
“Business community member out in full force condemning the Opposition. Ask any of them if they have any data on the workings of the law?”
Moonilal said, “We cannot give PNM this authority. Gary Griffith’s term will end, who will be the next Commissioner of Police? To implement this draconian law? What prevents a PNM CoP from locking up opposition politicians, religious leaders and social activists as gang members or aiding and supporting a gang.
He added, “They accused us of having links to gangs. When one PNM MP and one PNM MP alone invited a reputed gang leader to have drinks at the President house.”
Moonilal said the UNC had produced police statistics that showed this law wasn’t very effective and he reiterated this.
“So why is the Opposition being castigated for not supporting this? Even the government admitted the legislation needed reviewing and repealing.
“We call for a fundamental review of the anti-gang legislation to find out why it’s not working as effectively as it should.”
Moonilal claimed the Government had no interest in passing the law last Friday, “When time came for the vote the Prime Minister ran away. He wasn’t even there to vote with the government. All 19 of us were present and voted. Ask Rowley what he was doing that was more important than voting with his team for that law.”
Moonilal challenged the Attorney General’s claim that gangs had been halved: “Assuming that to be so, it’s not because of this law. Because only 22 could be accounted for by this law. So where the rest of them gone? A reputed gang leader died of COVID – that in the data too?”