More blows for Al Rawi

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Attorney General Faris Al Rawi is coming under further criticisms.

This time, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is adding her voice of dissent to a statement made by Al Rawi with respect to anti-bail and anti-gang laws.

The laws expire in mid-August and remand prisoners would then be entitled to appeal for bail.

Persad-Bissessar slammed Al Rawi for attempting to “mislead and deceive the population into thinking that 1,300 prisoners are likely to be freed” because the Opposition voted against extending the measures.

She branded the claim as “mischievous, baseless and politically malicious.”

She charged that the statement is “designed to score cheap political points at the expense of truth and accuracy and to engender fear in the population.”

Persad-Bissessar criticised Al Rawi’s “tendency to overinflate figures in order to sensationalise an issue…”

She said the opposition had asked the Attorney General to provide the number of people who have been arrested, charged and convicted” under the Anti-Gang Act, but he has “failed to do so.”

She said that “we suspect that the number … is relatively low and nowhere near the alarmist figure being bandied about by AG Al Rawi.”

The opposition, she said, “cannot in good conscience blindly support legislation that was passed for a specific period as a temporary measure to assist in the fight against crime.”

Persad-Bissessar explained that remand prisoners on gang and bail offences would be entitled to apply for bail.

She noted: “The court has the discretion to either grant or refuse bail, taking into account a wide range of factors, including their seriousness of their offence, their prior criminal records etc.”

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