Ameen: UNC supported anti-crime bills

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen.

ST Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen said on Friday the Opposition in Parliament had supported a raft of anti-crime laws proposed by the Government as she denied claims of non-support levelled earlier by Minister of Local Government Faris Al-Rawi.

The clash occurred in the House of Representatives during debate on a no-confidence motion against Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds.

The minister said Hinds was expected to alone sprint in a metaphorical 100 metres race but was blocked at the 99th metre by an Opposition that refused to support legislation which was vital for Hinds to do his job. Al-Rawi accused the Opposition of “kicking and screaming” during parliamentary debate on civil asset forfeiture legislation. He said explain your wealth legislation would unearth the likes of an individual earning $6,000 per month but who had $70 million in assets.

Advocating for tougher bail laws, Al-Rawi said the Opposition’s non-support of new bail legislation in Parliament had resulted in “a revolving door” of criminal suspects accessing bail, to be back out of the street to commit more crimes.

Ameen listed government bills which she said the Opposition had supported. These included civil assets legislation, anti-terrorism legislation and the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2019. She called on Al-Rawi to apologise for alleged untruths about the Opposition’s voting record on Government bills.

Deputy Speaker Esmond Forde there was a process to use in such cases.

Ameen went on to lament the country’s high rate of violent crimes. She said that to date no one person has been convicted of human trafficking. Reading from the TT Gazette, she listed the duties of the minister of local government, and asked if Hinds had read it.

Blaming Hinds for crime in TT, Ameen said, “What we’ve seen is a complete breakdown in law and order.” Saying TT was now the world’s sixth most crime-ridden country, she lamented TT’s annual murders which from 2016-2022 were each year respectively 462, 459, 517, 536, 397, 448 and 498.