As the call for the United National Congress (UNC) to support the Bail Amendment Bill continues to be made by both Government and private citizens, the party says it will not make decisions based on emotions.
During a news conference at their Charles Street, Port-of-Spain office yesterday, the UNC said although emotions are high in the country, they will make sober decisions as they believe the country does not need laws to solve crime.
Member of Parliament for San Juan, Saddam Hosein said there needs to be a complete reform of the Judicial system.
“We have enough laws, what we need is more judges, what we need is to fix the prison system, what we need is to resource the police,” Hosein said.
He said the country has a problem with enforcing existing laws as he explained the party’s reasoning for withholding support for the Bail Amendment Bill.
“Murder, kidnapping, rape, sexual offences are all crimes. They are illegal therefore the court can in fact deny a person bail if you are charged with those offences. What the government had proposed to do was deny a person bail for a period of 120 days automatically if you are charged with a firearm offence,” Hosein said.
He said the Evidence Amendment Bill brings no new legislation, as he pointed out that video evidence is already accepted in the courts.
“What we have seen is that this Bill will add to that greater complexity of investigations which will in fact cause more and more objections where defence counsel in court can have a greater opportunity in getting the evidence collected thrown out.”
Hosein said he does not believe these changes will work properly in the current Judicial system.
“Imagine if we had proper camera footage, GPS tracking, technology area surveillance how different the landscape in terms of criminal investigation would have been,” he said.
Responding to calls from citizens to bring back the death penalty, Hosein said the law of the land remains one where a person convicted of murder is sentenced to death by hanging.
He said in 2011, the then People’s Partnership administration brought the Constitution Amendment Capital Offences Bill to Parliament.
The Bill proposed to categorise murder, deal with issues of delay where a person must be executed five years after their conviction and for the re-implementation of the death penalty.
He said at that time, the People’s National Movement (PNM) did not support the Bill.
“Ten years has passed and not a single new idea, a plan or a policy for the reimplementation of the death penalty,” Hosein said.
Opposition Senator, David Nakhid said the UNC must make sober decisions despite the emotional state of the country.
“We understand the tone of the country but we must be the adults in the room,” Nakhid said.
He sent out a caution to the Government, saying they need to be mindful of how they ascribe labels.
“I train every morning at Chafford Court (people) from Morvant, from Beetham, come and train with me every morning and they feel when they hear those words ‘beast’ and ‘creatures’ and ‘monsters’ and these are hard-working young black men and brown men. They feel under attack.”