Gun bill passed in House

Peo­ple held with il­le­gal firearms will now be in for se­vere penal­ties—in­clud­ing jail sen­tences for the rest of one’s life— and big fines af­ter Gov­ern­ment’s Firearms Bill was passed in Par­lia­ment on Mon­day night with Op­po­si­tion sup­port.


The bill, passed in the Sen­ate a few months ago, is part of Gov­ern­ment’s “tools” to fight crime in­clud­ing mur­ders. It in­creas­es the penal­ties for il­le­gal firearm pos­ses­sion and in some in­stances pro­vides in­creased penal­ties for first, sec­ond and third con­vic­tions.

Among the bill’s 28 claus­es, a per­son who chalks up a third firearms of­fence risks serv­ing the rest of their nat­ur­al life in jail. For the first time al­so, the of­fence of traf­fick­ing in firearms is be­ing in­tro­duced in T&T and the of­fence of pro­hib­it­ed weapons.

Dur­ing de­bate Prime Min­is­ter Kei­th Row­ley lashed out at state­ments by UNC MP Rod­ney Charles dur­ing the de­bate.

Row­ley said he was a black man in T&T and was nev­er afraid to speak of him­self as a black man and African.

He said maybe if peo­ple spoke about race more and not in­of­fen­sive or dis­agree­able ways, “We may make some progress.”

But he said Charles had at­tempt­ed to con­vey that the bill’s mea­sures were aimed at black peo­ple in in­ner cities and was try­ing to tell black peo­ple that the PNM was pass­ing a law to jail them.

Row­ley claimed the UNC was al­so con­vey­ing a sim­i­lar mes­sage in its elec­tion cam­paign on the ground and, “That’s dan­ger­ous in T&T!” he added.

Yes­ter­day how­ev­er Charles is­sued a me­dia state­ment, re­ply­ing to the claims.

He ac­cused Row­ley’ of try­ing to “hood­wink vot­ers us­ing his tried and test­ed pen­chant for pro­mot­ing dis­trac­tions.”

“Dr Row­ley might have suc­ceed­ed in his bul­ly­ing tac­tics against his for­mer leader Mr Man­ning and oth­ers. Not against me,” Charles added.

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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