All Members of the Opposition are in full support of the Leader of the Opposition Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar’s decision to vote against the draconian Anti Gang legislation which was debated in Parliament on Wednesday.
At no point in time during the debate did I as Opposition Chief Whip make any agreement with the Prime Minister behind the Speaker’s Chair. As protocol dictates; the only person from the Opposition who could make an agreement with the Prime Minister is the Opposition Leader, not David Lee.
All the Opposition requested during the committee stage from Government in order to give our support was the inclusion of a Sunset Clause of two years. This would have allowed the Government to come back to Parliament and state if this legislation was effective or not.
As a Parliamentary bench we don’t think that this request of a two year sunset clause was unreasonable as it would have provided an effective check and balance for the population and our citizens’ rights.
The inclusion of the sunset clause was important to protect citizens from the potential abuse of powers by several arms of the state. The Anti-Gang Bill required a special majority because powers would be granted that would violate constitutionally protected rights of all law-abiding citizens and the Opposition refused to be bullied into supporting legislation that could be open to abuse and exploitation.
Dr. David Lee,
Opposition Chief Whip& Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre.