This was revealed by Opposition Chief Whip Ganga Singh at an Opposition press conference outside Parliament on Friday afternoon.
“The Leader of Government Business (Camille Robinson-Regis) spoke to me with respect to arranging a meeting with the Opposition to discuss that particular Bill. So we await their request for that meeting,” Singh told reporters.
Government intends to bring legislation to Parliament in the next two weeks to make firearm and gang-related offences non-bailable for a period of two years.
Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Stuart Young, last Thursday explained that provisions in the law which make people ineligible for bail, if charged with certain offences, will expire in August.
These offences include crimes related to illegal possession of firearms and use of firearms, gangs and kidnapping.
“The prosecution then has 120 days within which to bring evidence to court and commence the case. Failing which, the persons can then be eligible to apply to a magistrate or High Court judge for bail,” Young said.
Government is seeking to extend the provisions until August 2018, to allow law enforcement agencies as well as the prosecutorial arms to have the ability of no eligibility for bail for these offences continuing for the next two-year period.
Asked on Friday if they were considering supporting the proposed extension, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, “We will have to caucus on that matter to determine whether we need to.” Noting that the Opposition has not yet seen a copy of this Bill, Persad-Bissessar shared a conversation with Finance Minister Colm Imbert about supporting Bills which require a special majority.
“I remember Minister Imbert told me, some months ago, if we would support some of the Bills for special majorities, and I said, ‘Well, I have to see the Bills.’ He said, ‘No, if we bring it back in exactly the same form?’ I said ‘I do not trust you.
I would want to see the Bills themselves before I comment and caucus, and if they are worthy of further consultations, we will want to also consult with stakeholders and members of the public before we give any commitment with respect to supporting such Bills,’” Persad-Bissessar stated.