Naparima MP is calling on PM Rowley to tell the country, with a straight face, how the proposed Bail Amendment Bill will measurably reduce, and by how much, our murder rate, or gang membership, or serious crimes and in what specific time frame.
“Tell us for example that this Bill, in concert with what other actions by the state, will reduce murders by 5% or 15% annually,” says MP Charles.
Only then will the country be able to judge whether the suite of laws proposed by a misguided AG will work. This even as PM Rowley himself, when he was in Opposition, confessed that passing more and more laws in Parliament will not reduce crime.
We will all be in a better position to judge the efficacy of the proposed Bill if we have hard figures to work with.
The Bill will be debated in Parliament on Wednesday and MP Charles is 100% sure that the PNM cannot give a measurable crime reduction target.
“The PNM will never do so because they know fully well that this Bill is only for PR purposes, merely to buy time, and more so give the impression that they are being tough on crime.
Would a 15 year old gang recruit anxious to gain “rank”, or whose brother or father was killed by another gang, be deterred by the fact that he will be in jail for 15 years (the maximum penalty if he uses a firearm), or whether he gets a life sentence, or three or four life sentences?
This Government has no clue how to solve crime. They keep throwing out more and more laws, the same thing which Rowley railed against, to buy time and hoodwink the population, in the run up to the upcoming elections.
It was the same with the Anti-Gang Legislation. We were told by AG Faris that they knew the 2459 gang members nationwide, where they live, how they operate and what crimes they had committed and all that was needed to restore public safety and discourage gang membership was to pass the Anti-Gang Act.
Today, months after the passage of the Anti-Gang legislation, the number of gangs has increased, membership has grown significantly and we still live in fear of gangs. Gangs are now fighting openly on the streets in broad daylight, seemingly oblivious to the Anti-Gang Act. Meanwhile the population looks on in disbelief.
Where are the measurable results of this Act?
The crime plan of this Government is to pass more and more laws, overburden the judiciary, the Forensics Science Centre, our prisons, and the understaffed DPP office.
The US with 2.2 million incarcerated citizens has the largest prison population in the world. More than India, China, Russia and the Philippines. This resulted from ill-conceived legislation in the 1970s which significantly increased penalties. Today US presidential candidates like Joe Biden are apologizing for their roles in the suite of poorly thought out legislation.
With a prison population of 292 per 100,000 our country will soon be ranking with dictatorships like North Korea, the Philippines and others with large prison populations.
The US is now concerned with its prison population of 655 per 100,000 and is actively considering data driven steps (legislative and otherwise) to reduce its unacceptably large prison population comprised mainly of inner city, poor, male and at risk black youth.
African Americans comprise 12% of the US population and 33% of its prison population. CNN reports that “studies have found a correlation between the length of a person’s rap sheet and the likelihood of recidivism.”
This Keith Rowley Government seems hell bent on repeating the problems of the US by creating one of the largest prison populations per capita in the Western hemisphere, if not the world.
MP for Naparima