Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has expressed concern that after four months of the Anti-Gang legislation under the Rowley PNM Government there has not been a single arrest, charge or prosecution, and there has been no reduction in gang violence.
“We then, Madam Speaker, in our publication to the country, in the press conference, we identified North-Eastern Division has 15 gangs with 256 members; Port of Spain Division, 41 gangs with 574 members; Central Division, 10 gangs with 106 members; Southern Division, 19 gangs with 202 members; Eastern Division, 9 gangs with approximately 121 members; Northern Division, 23 gangs with 324 members; South-Western Division, 21 gangs with 178 members; Western Division, 49 gangs with 533 members; Tobago, 24 gangs with 190 members.
“We then, Madam Speaker, informed the population that the intelligence agencies know by street name, by gang leader identification, by member identification throughout the nine divisions in Trinidad and Tobago, all the gang members suspected to be gang members. We were able to do that because the country is well aware that this Government came and amended the SSA Act, and specifically changed the focus of the SSA away from narcotics only and into something which we defined in law as “serious crime”, and serious crime includes gang activity, anti-terrorism, money laundering, et cetera, because we changed the focus of intelligence.”
After spending more than 25 billion dollars on national security we still do not have an effective, dedicated and specially trained unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service that has the ability to infiltrate and gather information and intelligence on criminal gangs that could be used as evidence to prosecute persons under this legislation.
“This is legislation that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and other law enforcement agencies are screaming, begging and pleading with us to bring to the Parliament”.