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Anti-Gang Bill in House tomorrow

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Debate on the Anti-Gang Bill 2010 is set to take place in the House of Representatives tomorrow afternoon. The bill, to be presented by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, provides for the suppression of associations created for unlawful or criminal purposes. Police have reported that many murders committed in T&T are gang-related. The legislation is inconsistent with sections four and five of the T&T Constitution and as a consequence requires a special three-fifths majority vote to be approved and become law.

The bill is the second major anti-crime initiative of the Government in as many weeks. Last week it secured passage of the Interception of Communications Bill 2010, which seeks to legalise the tapping of phones in T&T. A third major crime fighting piece of legislation, the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2010 will be debate upon completion of the Anti-Gang Bill.Under the proposed legislation police are given special powers.

Section 10 of the bill states:
• A police officer may arrest without warrant a person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be a gang member or whom he has a reasonable cause to believe is committed to an offence under this Act;
• a police officer may, with a warrant issued by a magistrate so enabling him to do, with proper assistance, enter any dwelling house, by force and breaking doors if necessary and ensure the same if he has reasonable cause to believe that a gang member may be found in that dwelling house; and,
• a police officer may enter and search any place or premises not used as a dwelling house without a warrant if he has reasonable cause to believe a gang member may be found in such place or premises.

The sitting starts at 1.30 pm.


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