Monday 14 October, 2019

Stuart: Criminals can use pepper spray too

Amidst continued calls for the legalisation of the use of pepper spray as a means of protection by citizens, Government says the matter is still the subject of “careful review”.

Giving an update on the consideration for the use of the non-lethal weapon in light of the recent murders of three women over a four day period, National Security Minister Stuart Young said Government is in the process of considering the “overall effects” of legalising the carrying and use of pepper spray in Trinidad and Tobago.

He was responding to a question posed by Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial on whether consideration was given to recommending pepper spray as legal for women to carry and use against their attackers.

Condemning the recent attacks against women, Young said Government is very mindful of the occurrence of serious crimes against women and young girls.

The matter has been before the authorities for consideration for some time. In September 2017, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley indicated that the Acting Police Commissioner was giving the matter “active consideration” to the legalisation of pepper spray, and “anticipate a decision in the not too distant future”.

But, the National Security Minister said in bringing the amendment to current legislation regarding its use, Government must find a way to prevent its use by criminal elements.  

He said that by amending the Firearms Act 15:01 Sec 2 which specifically highlights prohibited weapons and identifies the use of pepper spray as an offence, it would not only allow women to carry pepper spray but also the criminal elements.

“Therefore, consideration of such an amendment requires a very careful review which is being undertaken; how could we find a way to exclude the criminal elements,” Young said.    

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