Polygraph Bill passes in the House with support from Opposition

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Polygraph Bill passes in the House with support from Opposition

All 36 members of the Opposition and the government MPs present in the parliment last evening, voted in full support of legislation that allows polygraph and drug testing and biometric identification for members of the Protective Services and certain offices in the Judicial and Legal Service and the Civil Service.

The bill, which required a three-fifths majority, got strong support from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who told the Opposition that there is nothing to gain by opposing it and that members of the public would benefit from the new law.

Dr Rowley told the House that as the country battles crime, the support that it needs from international partners is sometimes stymied because of trust issues, as some members of the protective services are involved in criminal activity.

“The countries that we share interests with who help us with national security, especially information that is pertinent to our own national security … they will not deal with us, and even if they are dealing with us, there are some officers that they will not deal with because sometimes they know more about our officers than we know about them,” he said.

He said the officers who are required to work with these international partners must have the highest standards and be above reproach.

He said this bill will ensure that officers are properly vetted.

“We have to use the tools that are available to us to ensure that persons who are unsuitable do not find themselves in positions where they can harm the stage and the general national security,” Dr Rowley said.

Opposition Oropouche West MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said there wasn’t much in the bill that was “objectionable” but told the Government that this legislation would not automatically result in improved crime.

He suggested that the Government also focus strongly on boosting the presence of police officers across the nation and, particularly at schools where fights are rampant.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of resources because today the TTPS still argue that they don’t have sufficient resources, body cameras and so on. The point is, what is required is the management of resources and that in tandem with a vetting process that is robust, strenuous that they can now go to with a regulatory framework and vet and polygraph police officers…it must work in tandem with the provision of resources,” he said.