The debate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill 2013 is on and well under way in the Senate.
In their usual style of playing politics with the people’s business, the opposition has blatantly refused to support this bill. Thus, at least four (4) votes in favour of the bill is needed from the independent senators to obtain the 3/5 majority requirement for the bill to be passed in the upper house. However, this is not as simple as one would expect.
In the mind of the reasonable individual, at a time like this when crime continues to plague our country and affect the lives of every single citizen, one would expect that such an ambitious and daring piece of legislation would be passed with ease. However, this is Trinidad and Tobago where the opposition serves no purpose but to hinder progress by playing politics with matters of national concern.
Looking on at the debate in the Senate on Tuesday evening, I was shocked at the contributions of some of the independent senators particularly that of Mrs. Corrine Baptiste McKnight. I must admit,it has been quite some time since I heard a contribution in the Senate with such an incredible level of deception, intellectual dishonesty, abject misrepresentation of the facts of history and a naked show of partisan politics from a so called “Independent” Senator as I heard from Baptiste-McKnight. Her contribution screamed partisan politics at the very least and showed that even in the independent bench, there are those who choose to play politics with the people’s business. This is something that I take issue with as I am of the view that this should not be!
In his superb contribution to the debate, Attorney General Senator Hon. Anand Ramlogan expounded that the Government spends in excess of $1 billion annually on the Defence Force and it is simply not practical to have them on standby, idly waiting for something to happen, that may not happen. Finally, the voice of reason! Taxpayers dollars are being spent on the defence force so why not put them to work? Our soldiers are well equipped and stand ready to fight against the criminal elements, so why not allow them to? What is so wrong with having our soldiers and our police joining forces to rid our country of the criminal elements?
The opposition PNM had every opportunity to fight crime yet somehow they have all the solutions now that they are now out of office. They had every crime plan in alphabetical order from A-Z, from ANACONDA to Zero Tolerance and which one worked? In fact, crime escalated at a disturbing rate under their watch so they have absolutely no moral authority to speak on crime-fighting because they have failed and miserably so.
To our independent senators, I implore you to let good sense prevail and vote in favour of the bill. The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce has supported this initiative of the government, the San Fernando Business Association has supported it, the acting CoP supports it, DOMA has supported it. Recently I read that the Acting CoP has stated that March saw the fewest murders in any month for the past six years, and he attributed this success to the use of soldiers with police officers in joint patrols. More so, we the people support this initiative. The only ones who should be fearful of this move, are the criminals.
Chris Arshad Hosein