OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said the Opposition will not support the Bail Amendment Bill in the Parliament today unless changes are made.
She said the bill, which will allow the imprisonment of people for up to 120 days without bail if they are found with a weapon, is “dangerous” and can be used to target and frame innocent people.
The former prime minister said she understood crime was a serious issue, but the answer was not to simply jail everybody, and that human rights must be protected.
Persad-Bissessar was speaking at a United National Congress (UNC) meeting at Gajadhar car park, Sangre Grande, on Monday.
“We are saying, if your child is in a car going to school, for example, and for some reason there is a weapon in that car trunk—nothing to do with your child or anyone else in that car— they can lock up everyone in that vehicle or maxi or bus, and no bail for 120 days,” she said.
If a couple separates and one partner is a police officer, then there is room for a weapon to be “planted” out of malice and revenge, she added.
The Opposition has an amendment to the bill which it will present today: if a person has a conviction for an offence, then no bail.
This is a reasonable compromise, Persad-Bissessar said.
“We cannot support this bill in its current form. We want to pass good law. Their plan is to bring it (today); they will not accept our amendment, then go all over saying Kamla and the UNC supporting criminals. That is their plan.
“Tonight, I say if they make the change, we will say yes in the Parliament. We are committed to fighting crime, but I wanted to raise this matter tonight to send a clear signal that we will not accept this bill in its current form,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar also knocked the Government for its claim that the UNC was supporting criminals and had made death threats against Christopher Wylie—the Canadian whistleblower at the helm of the Cambridge Analytica controversy. She said the Government was looking for distractions, arguing that they came with the “distraction” of an assassination plot against the prime minister.
“Good Lord, I mean how much more ludicrous can you become? How much more foolish can you be? UNC members want to kill Wylie so he frighten for his life.
“Look the commissioner of police looking for Wylie and he cannot find Wylie. You think a UNC member going to find Wylie to threaten him? So with each day, it gets worse because it gets more and more ridiculous,” she said.