“Legislation alone will not stop or reduce the high crime rate.”
That’s according to Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Speaking during a press conference on Friday evening, at the Opposition’s Office in Port-of-Spain, Persad-Bissessar said that the Opposition has supported six crime fighting legislations yet to be implemented but if the State exercised its right to appeal bails granted, that measure would aid greatly in crime reduction.
She said, “All of this legislation hasn’t helped. You already pass the law, we gave you the support to have no bail for 120 days. If I give you a year, is it going to make a difference? If we give you two years, is it going to make a difference? My answer is no. The answer will lie in the State using its right of appeal to a magistrate or to the judge.”
She added, “The state has a duty when an application is made for bail, that they must go to the court. They must attend court when the application is made and show the evidence that this person is a risk, a danger to society.”
If evidence cannot be provided, the magistrate will use discretion in granting the bail.
However, Persad-Bissessar also stressed that “The right to apply for bail is a fundamental right.”
Her statements follow that of Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob, who called for changes to the Bail Act while confirming that the suspects who were involved in the murder of businesswoman Nicole Moses in Westmoorings, were out of bail for several violent crimes, with 21 charges between them.
The UNC leader also questioned if the selection of a new Commissioner of Prisons would go down the same route as the Commissioner of Police with alleged political interference.
She said, to date, the country remains without two top official persons in national security and criminals were becoming emboldened to commit their acts.
She reiterated her call for the resignation of National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
“Hinds must go. I don’t think the country can take any more of his mismanagement,” she stated.