Earlier in the sitting, Manning congratulated all members of the newly-elected members of the UNC national executive on their success in the party’s internal elections on Sunday. “I want to thank the Honourable Prime Minister for his sentiments. Sometimes you get what you wish for. As he wishes us well, I want to tell him and the rest of the country that we shall not disappoint,” Warner stated.
Warner said while he supported the bill’s intentions, he wondered whether its measures went far enough to help fight crime in the country. “These crimes are being carried out by a crime syndicate inside and outside of the prisons. New criminals are being bred by the old,” he claimed. “Can we really support this bill in its present form? It skims on the surface of prison reform,” Warner added.
He called upon Government to tell the Parliament how much retired Canadian Major General Cameron Ross was paid to undertake a national security review for the Government and the success or failure of its other anti-crime strategies. Warner also asked whether compulsory drug testing was constitutional.
Tabaquite MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said the cost of maintaining the country’s prisons should be shifted from the taxpayers to the prisoners. Citing successful examples in the US where prisons are run on the basis of services provided by the prisoners, Maharaj said: “The prisoners have to earn money for the prison to operate.”
Leader of Government Business Colm Imbert later invoked Standing Order 37 (3) to suspend debate on the bill until February 5, so that the House could refer the Securities Bill and Children’s Bill to joint select committees which must complete their work by April 1. Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira and Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne respectively informed Speaker Barry Sinanan that Government and the Opposition had agreed upon this course of action given the importance of both pieces of legislation.
As he moved the House’s adjournment to February 5, Imbert grinned at Warner as he quipped: “It is difficult getting used to this.” Responding to an inaudible comment from Warner, Imbert replied: “Let’s hope so.” The House will debate a motion to approve the 2009 Elections and Boundaries Commission report at its next sitting.