The UNC has always placed the interests of Trinidad and Tobago first by seeking collaboration, consultation and bipartisan efforts with the government in the national interest.
Multiple proposals have been forwarded by the UNC to the Rowley government, both inside and outside of the parliament. They have refused to even consider these proposals.
To be clear, the Opposition stands ready and willing to not only support the government in the fight against crime but to also outline our clear and actionable crime solutions, such as:
1. Stand Your Ground legislation to give citizens a fighting chance.
2. Amending existing laws to make Firearm Users License (FUL) more accessible to law-abiding citizens.
3. Creation of the criminal offence of Home Invasions.
The population must be reminded that it was the UNC who brought the government to the discussion table in 2016 to assist with crime legislation. Again in April 2023, the UNC requested Keith Rowley to meet to discuss assisting the government with further anti crime measures. This offer of assistance was refused.
However, this has not reduced our willingness to collaborate on crime fighting as we have supported the Government on countless crime fighting bills. Today we once again stand ready and willing.
Since 2015 the following anti-crime bills supported by the UNC:
1. The Bail (Access to Bail) (Amendment) Bill, 2017
2. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Proceeds of Crime, Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, Customs and Exchange Control) Bill, 2017
3. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill, 2018-
4. The Payments into Court Bill, 2018
5. The Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) (Amendment) Bill, 2018
6. The Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2019
7. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2019
8. The Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill, 2019
9. The Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2020
10. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Special Reserve Police and Police Complaints Authority) Bill, 2020
11. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Administration of Justice) Bill, 2020
12. The Summary Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2021
13. The Sexual Offences (Amendment)(No.2) Bill, 2021
14. Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2021
15. The Electronic Payments into and out of Court (Amendment) Bill, 2021
16. The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2021
17. The Anti-Gang Bill, 2021
Several Special Majority Bills have also been passed with Opposition support, including:
1. The Tax Information Exchange Agreements (United States of America) Act, 2016 (FATCA)
2. The Insurance Act, 2016
3. The Anti-Gang Act, 2018
4. The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2018
5. The Licensing Committee (Validation) Act, 2018
6. The Bail (Amendment) Bill, 2019
The UNC has also presented a comprehensive plan to address the root causes of crime and implement short, medium and long-term solutions that are free and accessible to any member of the public including the Government.
Some of these plans are:
1. Increased investment in education
2. Job creation
3. Social programmes
4. Rehabilitation policies and plans for prisoners
5. Bail Reform
6. Updated law enforcement training
7. Adjustments to ministerial portfolios
8. Scientific improvements in training, investigations, and data analysis for crime prevention
9. Support for children who lost parents to crime
The people of Trinidad and Tobago deserve to live in a safe and secure environment, and not in a state of constant fear and uncertainty.
The tired narrative that the Government needs support to fight crime is only designed to take away the responsibility from Keith Rowley.
The Government cannot continue making excuses about needing the UNC’s support when they continue to refuse the help offered.
I end with words from current PM Rowley when he said, “If the Government cannot deal with it (crime) then the Government itself is part of the problem.”