SAYING that 73 percent of the population supports the death penalty, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar urged the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) to support the Capital Offences Bill which is expected to be brought back to Parliament as one of Government’s crime fighting initiatives.
Addressing a lively Monday night forum meeting at her Siparia constituency office off Penal Junction, Persad-Bissessar said her Government won’t succumb to fear and will enact every anti-crime measure to reduce bloodshed on the nation’s streets.
“A poll conducted by the University of the West Indies says 73 percent of our population want to hang convicted criminals, so why is it there are those in the PNM who refuse to support this?” Persad-Bissessar asked.
“Over the years from UNC to PNM, from PNM to Partnership, every national poll conducted has indicated widespread support for hangings to resume,” she said, adding, “This is not a political issue. PNM supporters want hangings to resume too, Partnership supporters want hangings to come back; independent voters are all saying the same thing, but Dr Rowley and those in the PNM would say ‘no’.”
“They have voted against every measure to fight crime. They have voted against the Capital Offences Bill; they rejected the DNA Bill; they voted against the Bill to give soldiers the powers of arrest,” she said, adding, “I promised that we were going to bring back to Parliament the Capital Offences Bill and I challenge the PNM and its leader to stand up for the people to support the bill.”
“Have no fear, they cannot stop your Government,” she thundered to a sea of yellow. Supporters frantically waved yellow UNC flags. The atmosphere at the meeting took on a festive air although several hours earlier, one of its senior members, party chairman Jack Warner had tendered his resignation from the party’s national executive. He had also earlier resigned from the People’s’s Partnership Cabinet.
Persad-Bissessar, in anticipation of yesterday’s Senate debate on the ‘soldier bill’, urged legislators to support the Bill saying the soldiers would be trained as “community soldiers and bring peace to our land.”
“I call upon the legislators, Government, Opposition, Independent to see this as part of the programme, the power to bring a situation under control,” she said.
The meeting, which fell on Persad-Bissessar 61st birthday saw both UNC and COP parliamentarians wish the Prime Minister birthday greetings including Arts and Multiculturalism Minister
and COP member Dr Lincoln Douglas, who also reaffirmed the COP’s commitment to the People’s Partnership Government.