Several key Opposition MPs have vowed to support legislation to legalise the use of pepper spray.
Speaking to reporters before they entered the Red House to attend yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes, and Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee all noted that they and their colleagues in the United National Congress (UNC) had always supported the move and would continue to support it, provided the legislative framework proposed by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is sufficient.
“It is something we have always called for. Unless the legislation is severely flawed, I can’t see us not supporting it,” Moonilal said.
“The problem is you would see a title and the devil is always in the details. We have to read and ensure that there is not something that is unsupportable,” Haynes said.
While Haynes pledged her conditional support, she said that legislation alone won’t solve gender-based violence and general criminality.
“The conversation we need to have today is effective solutions,” Haynes said.
“Are there legislation solutions? Sure. Are there other solutions? Absolutely. Are there some that can be enacted faster and have a stronger impact? Definitely,” she added.
Lee claimed that the Opposition is always willing to engage in bipartisan work to address issues in the country, but claimed that Al-Rawi and the Government were not receptive. Lee noted that during a recent no-confidence debate in National Security Minister Stuart Young, the Government ended it before Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar could make her closing presentation.
“He (Al-Rawi) comes every week to pass laws that are not sufficient and do not have substance,” Lee said.
Guardian Media only saw two Government MPs enter before the debate as most chose to avoid rain and possibly the crowd of protesters that gathered outside by parking in the Red House compound.
The rain was falling when San Fernando East MP Brian Manning was making his way to the building through Abercromby Street and he did not stop to talk to reporters.
Laventille East/Morvant MP Adrian Leonce stopped and gave a brief comment.
“It is very sad what is happing but as a society, we need to deal with this together,” Leonce said.