Stand Your Ground, Don’t Jump to Baiting – Kamla

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

CITIZENS should not get caught up in the race-baiting card as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has, says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

“Stand your ground and don’t jump to the baiting that they are trying to put on to you,”  she told supporters on Monday.

Speaking at a United National Congress (UNC) political meeting in Guaico, Sangre Grande, Persad-Bissessar condemned the statements by Dr Rowley two weeks ago at a political platform in St James in which he said the Opposition wanted to give guns to one race so they could shoot another race.

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She said, “You are in your home, whether in the day or night, you are with your family, a bandit invades your home, what do you do? If we pass the Stand Your Ground Law, you say Mr Bandit sir, please take off your mask so I can see if you look like me then I will decide if to shoot you or not to shoot you. 

“Total nonsense! Because all across the land every creed, every race, every religion, red, blue, white, green, black we are all being hit by the bandits. Everyone!”

Persad-Bissessar said she asked Opposition Senator Anil Roberts, “What will he do?” as he is of mixed race.

“Which half of you will be the shooter and which half of you will be the shot person?”

The statements made by Dr Rowley were also condemned by the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour and political leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Gary Griffith.

Persad-Bissessar spent much time talking about the UNC’s crime plans which includes securing the protection of children in and out of schools, securing communication with citizens and police, securing police and 1400 municipal police officers, patrols, street lighting.

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Suggested UNC plans which she said Government could adopt are:

  • Stand your ground laws

  • Home invasion laws

  • Increased legal gun ownership.

  • Restructuring of the Ministry of National Security into a Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Justice.

  • Diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in policing for recruits combined with a police apprenticeship program

  • Review pretrial detention and bail reform

  • Individual risk and financial assessments for bail.

  • Five minimum security detention centres based in south, central, north, east and Tobago, with work release during the day and detention after work hours. These facilities will house non-violent offenders who are remanded pretrial and cannot access bail. 

  • Persons on a case-by-case basis will be allowed to access work release during their existing job hours and return to the facility after. 

  • Law to prevent incarceration of non-violent drug offenders (addicts)

  • Ankle bracelets and house arrest

  • State support for children of incarcerated persons

  • A fund for children who have lost one or both parents to crime


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