Friday 4 December, 2020

PM: Anti-Gang law necessary

Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley (Photo: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley (Photo: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has weighed in after the Anti-Gang (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was defeated in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The Government sought to extend the legislation, set to expire at the end of this month, for another 30 months.

However, the Bill, which requires a three-fifths majority, was not approved with 20 votes for, zero against and 19 abstentions.

Asked to share his view on the Opposition's move to abstain from the vote, the prime minister stressed the importance of elections and representation in the Parliament.

He said: "My view is very simple. Elections matter. If there are people in this country who elect people to represent them and those people decide that there are some reasons why persons under the purview of the police, persons who are likely to be charged for gang activity, persons who have been charged, persons who are answering for gang activity, that such persons should not continue to be in that jeopardy and some other reason supersedes that, then that is what the country is."

The prime minister added that contrary to the views of the Opposition, the Bill is neccessary to deal with the issue of gang activity.

He said: "Unfortunately, the group that I lead, the government, we did not have the votes to continue that law. There are other people in the parliament who believe that the law is not necessary. We disagree strongly and that is the outcome."

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