Government seeks Opposition support on Anti-Gang Act

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Government seeks Opposition support on Anti-Gang Act

The government is considering extending the category of offences under the Anti-Gang Act but it needs the support of the Opposition.

In an interview with Newsday, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi said that if the legislation is renewed it would help law enforcement in its fight against crime.

The anti-gang legislation covers offences such as rape, armed robberies, burglary and fraud, and it is set to become invalid on November 15.

Opposition MP Dr. Roodal Moonilal revealed that the Opposition would support the legislation once there are measures included in the law to stop authorities from taking advantage of offenders.

“If many people have been arrested and it (Anti-Gang Act) served as a deterrent to crime, we will look favorably at extension once citizens’ rights are protected. If it has succeeded in putting gang leaders behind bars, it is worthy of an extension.”

He said, however, that legislation alone cannot fight crime and while the anti-gang legislation is in place, there has not been a dent on crime.

“Not because of law but I think it is because of the paucity, scarcity and neglect of the government in providing the tools to the police,” he said.

The AG agreed that the law must be carefully considered as it must strike a balance between protecting citizens and ensuring that offenders are given their day in court. He did reveal though, that the Government may include some new measures to improve the current law.

Meanwhile, National Security Minister Stuart Young applauded the efforts of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in using the law.

In a Whats App message to Newsday he said, “Other provisions in the legislation that have been used are detention orders allowing the police to hold individuals for longer periods whilst gang investigations are ongoing and warrant provisions.

The anti-gang legislation allows the authorities to monitor those suspected of the crimes mentioned above and detain them for a period of 120 days.