Sunset or sunrise, no support from Kamla

By Raffique Shah
December 13, 2017

Raffique ShahIf there was anything shocking about the opposition United National Congress members voting to scuttle the so-called anti-gang legislation in Parliament last week, it was the seemingly shocked expressions on the faces of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and other members of government.

I was shocked that they were shocked by the opposition vote. Did Dr Rowley and his ministers really expect Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her colleagues to support the Government in any bid to fight crime? Any street-smart Trini could have told the PM long before the Bill came up for debate that the UNC would not allow it to be passed in the House.

It mattered not what manner of sunset, sunrise or high noon clauses it contained, or what concessions the Government was prepared to make to mitigate the human rights violations the opposition claimed to be concerned about if the Bill became law. They could have offered to pay legal fees for anyone charged, agreed to “host” suspected gangsters at the Hyatt instead of the dank cells at the prisons, Kamla and her gang were never going to facilitate its passage.

You see, Kamla’s UNC is not Basdeo Panday’s UNC, whose stated purpose while in opposition was “not to make government look good”. Kamla’s UNC is about frustrating government at every turn, subverting it, sabotaging it, making it look helpless and hapless (the Rowley administration does not need much help here…it’s doing a fine job on its own) by any means necessary.

I am convinced that the Opposition would sooner see the country bathed in blood, rendered ungovernable, descend into chaos, than lift a voting finger that might help contain or reduce crime if such support might extend the PNM’s sunset in office by 24 hours.

If anything, I was surprised that Kamla did not seek a waiver on Standing Orders to enable her to have a “temporary MP” sworn in, and present a live gangster, armed and menacing, to argue his blood-brethrens’ case against anti-gang legislation. Well, she did install a casino croupier in the Senate to speak against increased taxation on gambling, and he was accompanied by a very vocal chorus comprising his colleagues who roundly abused certain senators and the Senate president in the Chamber, live on television. So why not a gangster to speak out on violations of his rights?

While the opposition’s predictable position on the law that they first introduced back in 2011 signalled their refusal to collaborate with government in fighting the tidal wave of crime, I do not see how the absence of such law will hinder the police if they are really serious about dealing with gangs and gangsters.

By AG Faris Al Rawi’s own admission, although a version of the law was in force up to 2015, the numbers of gangs, gangsters and gang-related crimes increased by more than 100 percent. Moreover, if the police have reliable information on the gangsters and their criminal activities, why do they need a special law to aid them in dealing with gang-related crimes?

In a television interview yesterday, the AG argued that enactment of the law would have sent gangsters scampering for safety. I submit that the enforcement of existing laws would have already put many such criminals behind bars. And while the additional powers the anti-gang law would have conferred on the police might have made crime-fighting easier, it seems to me that many police officers expect to have the criminals’ heads served up to them on a platter.

Realistically, the anti-gang legislation is now dead, murdered by an opposition party that hopes to swim back into power in the pond of blood its absence from the statute books will see shed. There will be no resurrection in six months or anytime between now and the next general election—the incumbent Government had better recover from its shell-shocked state and understand that.

And please, people, do not grovel at the feet of these unconscionable parliamentarians in the UNC: they have a huge pool of sycophants to do that daily, supporters who see nothing wrong in their elected and selected representatives prepared to sacrifice their supporters’ lives on the altar of political expediency.

We find it incomprehensible that radical Islamists would engage in suicide bombings and other atrocities en route to heaven—or so they believe. How, then, does one rationalise supposedly sensible people defending to the death, sometimes quite literally, the reckless, unpatriotic actions of leaders whose sole motivation is self-preservation, self-aggrandisement?

Because make no mistake about it, there are tens of thousands of people out there who believe that Kamla and her gang did the right thing by voting against the anti-gang law.

She will tell them she did it because the law violates their fundamental constitutional rights, and they will applaud. She will say that she was prepared to support it if the PM had agreed to a two-year sunset clause, and they will applaud. She will not say, and they will not ask, the difference between the violation of rights for two years and four years, but they will applaud.

You hear lie? Dat is lie!

23 Responses to “Sunset or sunrise, no support from Kamla”


  • Not even a Santa Clause.

  • “Because of the potential for abuse, we proposed a short sunset clause to ensure that the law would not remain on the books for very long should it be abused by law enforcement actors or political influences. There is a long history of abuse of national security powers with regard to ordinary citizens, so we must be wary when granting extraordinary powers.”

    The above is what Kamla stated i.e., what and why she wanted 2 years instead of 4 years. We do have past recorded events where ‘protect and serve constabulary’ abused their powers. Could the PM have altered the clause for 2 years for passage into law both accommodating the opposition and the constitutional rights of the average citizen?

    • Are we talking about justice or are we just politicking?
      If we are politicking then Kamla’s stance might be understood but seeking justice? Justice is NEVER SWIFT IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. IT TAKES APPROXIMATELY FOUR YEARS BEFORE A CASE MIGHT BE BROUGHT FOR AJUDICATION. IF WE ARE TO ACCEPT THIS REALITY, THEN WE SHOULD AGAIN ASK THE QUESTION, WHY 2 YEARS?

    • The two year sunset clause is a non-starter because it renders the proposed anti-gang legislation toothless. As explained by the Minister of National Security on the TV6 news a few nights ago, the police and other legal authorities typically need a period of time amounting close to two years to build enough evidence to charge individuals suspected of gang activity.

      Thus, if the legislation passed with the two-year sunset clause, all of the hours spent on debate and in committee would have been futile, since the law would have been virtually unenforceable.

      • “In 2016 it grew to 172 gangs and 2,358 members – today it’s 211 gangs and 2,458 members,” he said (Al Rawi).
        The PNM know the gang leaders and have given them huge housing contracts. One even show up at President’s house for the swear in of a PNM minister. It was Manning who called them “community leaders” employed a lot of them through URP programs. That program emerged as a rival killing field to Cambodia under Pol Pot regime. Manning met with many of them in fancy hotels etc.

        The gangs is the answer to a broken family structure. Proving food, clothing and shelter in exchange for selling drugs, pimping, and the sale of guns to those in need. Politicians attempted to control them but the established gang rivalry emerged as too much for their naive world view.

        • Mamoo, I know that you are a propagandist for the UNC, but it would make sense sometimes if you write something that make sense. Trinamerican is right, if you pass a sunset bill that ages in two years, by the time a case is built, passed through the judicial process and then come up for hearing the bill would have been in sunset for a long time. It is time you UNC people realize that you are not dealing with fools.
          Make a sensible argument and then you can gather support outside the Indian community, but in the meantime ……. say things that make sense!

          • 99% of the gangs are in PNM constituencies. The point I am making Kian which you missed is the fact that these gangs are known and funded by the political directorate. So no gang law can change anything…………….. Gangs in TNT
            1. In the run-up to the elections of 2002, Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr revealed that Government had started the paper work to hand over five acres of State lands adjoining the Mucurapo headquarters of the organisation to them. Manning pulled back under public pressure.

            2. Meeting with known gang leader Mark Guerra at Crown Plaza

            3. Meeting with known gang leader Kerwin “Fresh” Phillip at Ambassador Hotel

            4. Meeting with known gang leader Meryn “Cudjoe” Allamby at Crown Plaza

            5. Meeting with former murder accused David “Buffy” Millard at Ambassador Hotel

            6. Secretly Meeting with known gang leaders at the Rose Foundation in St James

            7. Making former murder accused David “Buffy” Millard coordinator of a $250 million NHA refurbishing project

            8. Appointed Mark Guerra as national adviser to the URP

            9. Patrick Manning car being sold to well know drug lord Dole Chadee

            10. Meeting with Abu Bakr on more than one occasion at Balisier House

            11. Known gang leader Mark Guerra campaigned with the PNM in 2002

            12. Known gang leader “Burkie” attended Marlene McDonald

  • Why two years? Because there is the potential of some people in the opposition being investigated. They will never sign it. Like Kian said the wheels of justice “runs” like molasses!

  • All this hoopla about the failure to pass the anti-gang bill. Go explain that to Corparol Babwah’s family who lost his from the bullet of a bandit.

  • Trinidad and Tobago is past a failed state and the politicians are having a good. They are not concerned that as of today the official murder rate is 471 persons (I believe it is more like 500) I do not see the opposition showing any concern for the everyday Trini who is under siege from the criminals. When I look at the new “election team” with the opposition leader I do not have much hope for the people of TT. But again: This is Trinidad where no one is held accountable.

  • Shah is trying to have it both ways. Dat is lie! On the one hand he declares that,”I do not see how the absence of such laws will hinder the police if they are really serious about dealing with gangs and gangsters”.
    He even questions,”why do they need a special law to aid them in dealing with gang-related crimes?”
    On the other hand, he laments that ,”Kamla’s UNC is about frustrating government at every turn, subverting it, sabotaging it, making it look helpless and hapless but criticizes that the Rowley administration for not needing much help here…”it’s doing a fine job on its own by any means necessary”.
    The ambivalent Shah is speculating and wavering as he attempts to once again placate his PNM friends.
    The law does violate fundamental constitutional rights. It should be considered a temporary, short term fix and that is precisely why two years makes sense. Rowley’s angry, belligerent sounding tirade after the failure in Parliament is foolish political grandstanding.
    Does anyone believe this legislation would be the panacea for solving crime in T&T?
    The country already has laws and law enforcement mechanisms to deal with crime. The problem is incompetence and corruption in the Police force and the government’s paralysis in dealing with their constituents.
    Once again Shah revels in his negative criticism of UNC supporters,without considering their constitutional rights to political thought and action.

  • From my observations, Kamla’ politics and policies vis-a- vis Trinidad, is lose , lose. There used to be a time , when Women put their houses in order, as a Woman, a nurturer, the first woman of the land, it seems that she is still searching. Oh how nasty, is the politics of Trinidad, scoring points or getting one up on each other, is what passes as parliamentary debate. is it right, that party affiliation takes first preference to the Laws needed for fighting every day Trinidad crime? crime fighting , is a concerted effort, Laws enacted, have no race or color. If Kamla’ agenda, is the political failure of Dr Rowley, this may not be the way to go about it, the Prime Minister seems to have a lot of street sense, frank and in your face way about him, that the Lady opposition leader haven’t inculcated. 2yrs or 4yrs, is not the issue, Trinidad, needs anti gang laws, is she waiting for when a gang is domicile on every street? or is she waiting to be personally victimized or some one directly related to her, for her YES instead of NO? the possibilities exist always. As long as Her opposition party continues to be Religiously alluded, answers in the negative, will continue to be her forte. Ms Kamla Maharaj- Besessar, represents the weakness of Indo-Trinidadian males “MANICOU MEN” if you may call them that, with one Abstaining from the Vote, a blind man/ woman can see how fractured the UNC is going forward, not very good for Trinidad as we speak. The callousness of Trinidad’ crime, from grand Mothers, Mothers, Grand Fathers, Fathers, wives, Husbands, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews, has become an aspect of every day life. Is the Gov’t and Kamla’ opposition waiting for CRIME to bottom out? usually, it gets worse , before getting better.

    • ” Ms Kamla Maharaj- Besessar, represents the weakness of Indo-Trinidadian males “MANICOU MEN” if you may call them that…..”
      This unnecessary tirade into the dark chambers of your post slavery mindset is telling. It is a mixed concoction of ignorance, arrogance and a huge cesspool of unfettered hate. Drinking this dim view of life allows you a reason to lash out at others because it makes you feel good about yourself. Manicou men built this nation. One look at the ghettoes and you will see no manicou men. Rather you will see a bunch of lab rats knawing away at society with an avalanche of bullets following. Monkey don’t see their own tail.

  • The anti gang legislation may have implications for society as it could be used to target the innocent and political opponents.Trinidad and Tobago may have been plunged into a police state if this deceptive law was passed.The rights of citizens must never be infringed by a dictatorial regime who may use the police service as their agents to do ‘dirty work’.
    The police service is currently equipped to deal with gangs but because of the existing rogue and criminal elements within the TTPS the gangs are empowered.There are also serious allegations of politicians empowering gangs by lucrative contracts.
    The pnm propagandists are busy duping the population but a strong opposition will stand up in the interest of the citizens.Trinidad must never become a police state or a full blown dictatorship under this nasty pnm regime.

  • Is there a strong opposition in Trinidad and Tobago? What we have is a party which is doing everything to get into government to carry the country further into financial ruin. Paying millions for contracts for work not done, paying millions over the independent valuation price for properties, letting sellers occupy property free of charge after they over paid for the derelict properties, paying for substandard work and the list goes on….. What about the politicians who allegedly have millions or billions after they leave politics but did not have a saving when they entered politics. These politicians do not want to see proper laws drafted and passed. But again: This is Trnidad- failed state.

  • The truth is the PNM making the nation ungovernable and their minions are relentlessly blaming the Opposition for their failure.

    It is a master trick invented in balisier house where all systems of governance is ignored and list of contractors name sent to various ministries. The pigs at the feed trough continue to say Kamla empty the treasury using that as an excuse to not pay workers, fire and tax the life out of the citizenry.

    All State institutions are now impotent. To date after two oil audits Deokiesingh is promoted and the fraud squad scratching their a.. Waiting for Stuart Young to set them lose on any target directed from balisier house.

    With three ministers of national security and a huge budget this year will be another record breaking year for murders. Yes they use all their ingrained incompetence to point their fingers at the UNC. Whilst they create this mirage ordinary citizens are denied wages on time, medicines and they become victims of naked political patronage.

    As the nation sink into the abyss. They got rid of the Galicia, in a long comedy of errors the PM put in place a ministerial committee again circumventing the now impotent Port Authority. Wajangism is ruling the day. No the functioning of all state intitutions is suffering from comotose as the balisier brigade get letters from ministers to do as they please. According to Arnold Piggott corruption stinks to high heavens since the Rowley led government assumed office.

    But what holds for the future as grim darkness engulf the land? Maybe Shah could look in his magic mirror and find another blame Kamla moment. The dumb crustic PNM followers will drink it all in cyanide mixed with cool aid…

  • Mamoo, if you are a MANICOU MAN, the cap will surely fit. How else can you sum up the mostly male team that surrounds Kamla’ dress? can you term them nation builders? tell me MAMOO, what have the UNC done whenever they hold office to advance Trinidad? your comments really do not deserve responses, as a very antagonizing individual, your objectivity continues to wane as time goes by. Those are my observations, and trust me, there are many Indians, both in the PNM and UNC that are willing to ride with me on this one. You see MAMOO, the effects of crime is felt by both Africans and Indians, Ghetto or Gated, don’t fool your self Mamoo, stop being a ZEALOT UNC supporter, when ever the PNM is voted out of power, Africans play a great part, never forget Mamoo, the UNC will never hold national office without major African input. Christmas is round the corner, i bet you Mamoo are willing to pay to exorbitant sums for a MANICOU to curry, stop thinking like one.

    • Cooper I expect better from you. I guess that is why I responded to you. But this sort of rancour is sad example of your post slave mindset. My friend have a blessed day.

  • Mamoo, Over the last few years we have had revealations of many instances of the followings actions:
    – Payment of $37M to someone who did not do one item on a contract
    – Buying property for $20 million over the market price, and and letting the seller to occupy the building without paying rent.
    – Paying $185 million dollars for land while the market value was $55 million
    – Buying property around the Savannah over $20 Milioin the market value and giving the sellers a further $5 million to renovate building
    – Giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the National Airline without having any accountability for these monies
    – A government department paying $25 Million for a property in Chaguanas while the market valuation was no more than $5 Million
    – Paying millions of dollars over the value for agricultural lands to accommodate the building of a highway through a wetland/swamp.
    – Building box drains all over the country where the water was expected to go up hill to drain off.
    Trinidad and Tobago is a poor country now. A lot of money was thrown away.
    Tell us Mr. Mamoo is this good governance? Is this a government who was looking after the interest of the people of TT.

    • Is that the best you could do Observer???
      Here is few for you see if you could wrap your head around it.
      —– Government campus, Legal Affairs Towers-$300 million over-budget
      ——Ministry of Education Towers-$300 million over budget
      —–NAPA (PoS)-$234 million over-budget
      ——-NAPA (San Fernando)-$238 million over-budget
      ——Beverly Hills Housing-$106 million over-budget
      ——-Three questionable payments to Bouygues days before the Election, payments were made on May 14 ($3.6 million), May 14 ($10 million) and May 19 ($5 million)
      —–Sunway Construction $300 million quarry contract Scandal
      ——$100 million to fix shoddy work done EMBD with Water pipes and Electricity

      If u want more just respond. Great is not the PNM.

  • How is Kamla’s UNC different from Basdeo Panday’s? The mandate remains the same…Mr. Shah is spinning top in mud…to me…the legislation was flawed to begin with and to be frank he is correct….there are sufficient laws on the books for the Police to be effective.

    This Bill is a slippery slope that I am glad didn’t make it….the Government is pretending to do something about crime and is behaving as if this Bill would have been a silver bullet it isn’t and they know that because after it is assented to the Police has to put it into effect and that’s the stymie of current legislation….the interdiction rate is abysmal and would remain so until we address the Police Service.

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