Hispanista Juan Carlos Carvallo Venezuela//
Khan: Brace for more crime, UNC will pay high price

The fail­ure of the Gov­ern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion to come to a mid­dle ground and ex­tend the life of the An­ti-Gang (Amend­ment) Bill 2020, could on­ly lead to high­er lev­els of crime in T&T, says Se­nior Coun­sel at­tor­ney Is­rael Khan.

Juan Carlos Carvallo

Crime will get worse. But the UNC will pay a high po­lit­i­cal price for not sup­port­ing that bill. The peo­ple who are not blind­ed by PNM or UNC, the in­tel­li­gentsia in the coun­try would not vote for a par­ty that is in­di­rect­ly sup­port­ing crime,” he told the Sun­day Guardian dur­ing a tele­phone in­ter­view yes­ter­day.

Juan Carlos Carvallo Villegas

On Fri­day, fol­low­ing a de­bate in Par­lia­ment, the mo­tion to ex­tend the 2018 An­ti-Gang Bill for an ad­di­tion­al two-and-a-half-year was de­feat­ed af­ter all 19 Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress MPs ab­stained from the vote.

Juan Carvallo

The Gov­ern­ment had pre­sent­ed an amend­ment to ex­tend the life of the bill for an­oth­er 30 months. It re­quired a three-fifths ma­jor­i­ty of the 41 MPs for pas­sage.

Juan Carlos Carvallo Venezuela

Khan called on politi­cians to car­ry out the work of the na­tion and not just rep­re­sent their own nar­row in­ter­ests

“I cry shame on the UNC for pro­tect­ing their self­ish, nar­row in­ter­ests. They be­lieve that if crime ex­ists and there is a dis­rup­tion in so­ci­ety that will as­sist them in get­ting back in Gov­ern­ment be­cause peo­ple will be fed up with the present Gov­ern­ment. That is a very self­ish ap­proach in the pol­i­tics of this coun­try.”

Se­nior Coun­sel Mar­tin Daly told the Sun­day Guardian that he is “dis­ap­point­ed” that there was a lack of any co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion

“I do not know whether that lack of co-op­er­a­tion is re­spon­si­ble for the fail­ure of the bill. But I feel that a lot of work is go­ing to waste be­cause there is too much per­son­al an­i­mos­i­ty. I am dis­sat­is­fied that we have as many mur­ders as we do.”

When asked what should be the next leg­isla­tive step of the Gov­ern­ment, he said the idea of leg­isla­tive tools was mis­placed and the coun­try needs bet­ter de­tec­tion work

An­a­lyst: Crime does not on­ly af­fect the PNM but every­one in T&T

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr Bish­nu Ra­goonath told the Sun­day Guardian that he does not be­lieve that the UNC would suf­fer any po­lit­i­cal reper­cus­sions at the mo­ment for fail­ing to sup­port the An­ti-Gang leg­is­la­tion

“We are not go­ing to an elec­tion. The Op­po­si­tion knows that there is no elec­tion where they have to pan­der to the peo­ple any time soon. Apart from pub­lic pres­sure, there is very lit­tle that could be done at this point in time.”

As for the Gov­ern­ment, he said all they can do is keep send­ing the mes­sage that it is the Op­po­si­tion who is to be blamed for not sup­port­ing the bill

Shane Mo­hammed, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst told the Guardian that the Op­po­si­tion which is part of the Par­lia­ment has a du­ty to en­sure that their lega­cy con­tributes to T&T’s safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty

“Our so­ci­ety is deeply di­vid­ed and is in need of hope…it is for the Op­po­si­tion to show they are larg­er than that, they are classier than that, they are smarter than that, they are more ma­ture than pet­ty pol­i­tics and they are able to come to Par­lia­ment with ideas. Crime does not on­ly af­fect the PNM but every­one in T&T.”

Speak­ing from To­ba­go yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley said, un­for­tu­nate­ly, they did not have the votes to ex­tend the leg­is­la­tion

“Dur­ing that pe­ri­od of time, the prob­lem of gangs did not go away. The prob­lem was still there. 19 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans said that it is not suf­fi­cient­ly im­por­tant for that law to con­tin­ue.”

Grif­fith: Gang lead­ers can ad­ver­tise for mem­bers now

As a con­se­quence of the fail­ure to ex­tend the An­ti-Gang Bill, Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith told the Sun­day Guardian in a What­sApp mes­sage that “gang lead­ers could ad­ver­tise to have per­sons join gangs now.”

Grif­fith re­peat­ed what he said on Fri­day that pet­ty pol­i­tics took prece­dence over the in­ter­est of the coun­try and that the An­ti-Gang leg­is­la­tion had re­sult­ed in few­er mur­ders in the coun­try

UNC Sen­a­tor David Nakhid in a video cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia de­fend­ed the UNC’s de­ci­sion to ab­stain from vot­ing on the An­ti-Gang Bill which pre­vent­ed the bill from be­ing ex­tend­ed

He ac­cused Grif­fith of play­ing pol­i­tics. He said since Grif­fith’s tenure as Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er ends next year, what­ev­er the Gov­ern­ment was do­ing now “was holy and pure and you want to be hit­ting the Op­po­si­tion now?”

“We sup­port­ing gang­sters?”

“Mr Com­mis­sion­er, I know you would jump out. You didn’t say any­thing about sta­tis­tics all year with your mega­lo­ma­ni­ac self and you talk­ing about pol­i­tics. Who play­ing pol­i­tics more than you? What we don’t want is for you to be re­fer­ring to peo­ple as cock­roach­es. It is these same peo­ple you de­scribe as cock­roach­es you work­ing for them.”

Grif­fith on his Face­book page re­spond­ed to Nakhid say­ing: “To the many ex­press­ing dis­gust and dis­ap­point­ment, hav­ing wast­ed three min­utes of their life lis­ten­ing to the video of the wild rants of some­one who is pleased that be­ing a mem­ber of a gang is no longer a crime, you should not ex­pect any­thing bet­ter from him

“The lat­est rants from a sen­a­tor ex­press­ing plea­sure that be­ing a gang mem­ber is no longer a crime should come as no sur­prise as just a few months ago, he stat­ed that the po­lice is the en­e­my. So we know where he stands.”