PORT-OF-SPAIN – THE Bail (Amendment) Bill 2019 has been passed with the support of the Opposition.
It was passed yesterday just after 7 p.m. during a special sitting of the Lower House by 32 votes comprising 22 by the Government and ten by the Opposition. It needed a three-fifths majority to be passed.
This piece of legislation seeks to restrict bail for 120 days for a person who has a conviction for serious offences and charged again for one of them. It also restricts bail for someone being charged with a serious offence, is out on bail and gets charged for the same category of offence.
The offence for which no bail will be granted will include those that carry a ten year punishment concerning the Offences Against the Person Act, Dangerous Drugs Act, Kidnapping Act, Sexual Offences (against child) Act, Sexual Offences Act, Anti-Terrorism, Trafficking in Persons and Firearms Acts. Accused persons will have to prove “exceptional circumstances” in order to be granted bail, the legislation stipulates.
The debate saw quite a number of protesters outside the Parliament on Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain including relatives of the fishermen from Orange Valley and Carli Bay who were killed in a pirate attack on the high seas on July 22.
Groups who want Attorney General Faris Al Rawi to bring legislation decriminalising marijuana were also present to have their voices heard.