“The Attorney General’s recent accusation that the Opposition is not supporting certain bills is a complete fabrication. The Opposition supported each of the bills mentioned by the Attorney General often after rigorous debate and strengthening of laws to protect citizens’ rights. Once again, Mr. Al-Rawi is a stranger to the truth and is engaging in a desperate attempt to try to deflect attention from his incompetence.”
Mr. Al-Rawi is being intentionally deceptive in accusing the Opposition of refusing to support key pieces of legislation including the Anti-Gang, FATCA, Child Marriage and Income Tax Amendment Bills, and the Sexual Offenders Registry.
A simple fact check would show that the Opposition:
Raised a number of concerns regarding the Anti-Gang Bill and proposed critical amendments which were included, and after rigorous debate, we supported this legislation.
Proposed and got agreement for amendments to the FATCA legislation with gave the public a right to know. This after the legislation was examined thoroughly in a Joint Select Committee which the Opposition lobbied for.
Has made it clear that it supports the Sexual Offenders Register Bill in principle. However, it is clear that further consultations are needed since at least 14 non-governmental organizations have indicated interest in providing feedback on the Bill. In this regard the legislation was sent to a Special Select Committee to facilitate this.
Voted for the Marriage Bill.
The Opposition has always maintained that it would support good law that seeks to uphold and protect the interests of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the same applied to the Income Tax Amendment Bill.
The Attorney General bungled the legislative process and butchered the draft legislation to the point where the result was a Bill without the ability to satisfy any of the legislative aims for which it was proposed, and now he is attempting a futile public relations stunt.
Consequently, last week, the European Union listed Trinidad and Tobago among 23 states with weak anti-money laundering regimes and which pose terror financing risks. The Attorney General pushed through watered down legislation to give the appearance that the Government was taking measures to meet international requirements. He then attacked the EU for his failure to meet the minimal requirements of the legislation. , then publicly chided the EU for taking this step.
In watering down the Income Tax Amendment Bill, the Attorney General made a mockery of the Parliament. The government decided once again to sacrifice citizens’ rights for expediency and in the end only accomplished further warnings of non-compliance from the international community.
After the Attorney General’s chaotic mismanagement of the bill, Trinidad and Tobago has somehow been deemed as being more non-compliant than we were before the passage of the legislation.
The Opposition was prepared to work to produce a piece of legislation that would have satisfied the legislative aim of the legislation and would have struck the right balance between the rights
of the citizen and the legislative objective.
This could only have been properly achieved by this bill being considered alongside the other two pieces of legislation that were before the Joint Select Committee originally.
We call on the Attorney General and the rest of this Government to stop deflecting, stop trying to lay blame elsewhere and do their job.
Trinidad and Tobago is in need of sound and effective leadership, which this PNM Government is incapable of providing.
The time has come for this failing Government to step down and let people elect a leader and team that can effectively manage our country’s affairs, and get Trinidad and Tobago working again.