Thursday 29 October, 2020

UNC MP slams AG's 'vague' comments after Bayside party

Photo: Private COVID-19 party at Bayside Towers, Cocorite. Image taken from video.

Photo: Private COVID-19 party at Bayside Towers, Cocorite. Image taken from video.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has been criticised for “vague and incoherent” statements made on the debate of perceived double standards by police in treating with breaches of COVID-19 regulations.  

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally took the AG to task for his definition on public versus private spaces.

Questions have been raised in the public domain on this issue following a poolside party at Bayside Towers, Cocorite, where police let off attendees with a warning.

While Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the law is clear in its distinction of what constitutes a public space, the AG contended that this may not be as clear cut when the matter of ownership arises.

Rambally on Thursday said the COVID-19 regulations were vague and without clarity police officers are coming under unfair criticism as they enforce the regulations.

He suggested that these instances of grey areas would not have cropped up had the regulations been subject to Parliamentary debate.

On Friday, the MP knocked Al-Rawi’s response calling it “as vague and incoherent as the regulations which he and the Minister of Health has thrust upon the population”.

The Attorney General, who admitted he was not present when police intervened at Bayside Towers, said he has observed gatherings at HDC complexes where police officers didn't arrest anyone but issued warnings.

Rambally also took issue with the AG’s argument that Government requires speed and flexibility to pass legislation to manage T&T’s response to the virus.

The MP said while this may be true, good law should not be forfeited in the name of expediency.

He said: “In reality it seems Mr. Al-Rawi as AG is comfortable with the risk of selective law enforcement and is content to sit back and allow our police service to endure public vitriol. The AG seems to have missed the point of the Opposition’s views.

So put another way, if you give a workman a broken level to build a wall and tell that workman he has to use that level, then, inevitably that wall is going to be unevenly built. Similarly, if you give the police service broken laws, then the enforcement is going to be uneven.”

Rambally added that the “vague” areas of the regulations would lead to an increase in the number of legal proceedings brought on behalf of citizens.

He urged the Attorney General to respect the role that the legislature and courts play in the review of T&T’s laws.  

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