The Opposition has famous the issues of the Regulation Affiliation and their name for “open and good religion dialogue amongst all stakeholders” of the Prison Justice System. To this finish, because the Opposition, we proceed to fulfil our constitutional function inside and outdoors of the Parliament to make sure the safety of our Structure and have clearly expressed our issues relating to the Proof (Modification) Invoice, 2020. The Invoice in its current type solely requires a easy majority and might be handed with Authorities’s help alone because the Legal professional Normal has but once more eliminated the particular majority requirement. We condemn the Legal professional Normal for his false narrative that by some means the Opposition is required to help this piece of regulation.
Yesterday, the Regulation Affiliation additionally expressed their reservations relating to the Proof (Modification) Invoice, 2020 which they’ve mentioned they can not help in its current type because the Invoice have to be legally sound and workable. The Legal professional Normal intentionally misled the Parliament final Friday and indicated that the Regulation Affiliation supported the Invoice.
The present Proof (Modification) Invoice, 2020 solely offers with identification proof, admissions, confessions, and particular measures for witnesses to provide proof.
The passage of the Proof (Modification) Invoice, 2020 has far-reaching penalties which may probably result in complexities in prison investigations and easy errors or errors ensuing within the inadmissibility of proof thereby inflicting prison instances to break down in courtroom on technicalities.
The Opposition requires a sturdy and expedient prison justice system quite than a brief repair. The nation was shocked to study that after 15 years, DNA evaluation within the Sean Luke homicide trial continues to be not prepared. The system must be fastened earlier than introducing any new regulation. Now we have categorically said that the Proof (Modification) Invoice, 2020 won’t tackle, particularly, the problems on the Forensic Science Heart.
Now we have voiced our issues relating to the mismanagement of the divisions of nationwide safety, particularly, the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Heart. The Forensic Science Heart is plagued with a myriad of issues which has fallen on deaf ears. With issues akin to staffing, a ridiculous backlog of instances, failure to operationalize the DNA database and populate the DNA databank inevitably has led to the sluggish tempo of prison instances in courtroom. Now we have now seen the true state of the forensic pathology division of the Forensic Science Heart.
The Forensic Science Heart falls straight underneath the portfolio of Nationwide Safety Minister Stuart Younger and the problems at that Centre are an indictment on his continued incompetence and efficiency.
There are different areas that want pressing consideration, inter alia, the Coastguard, the under-resourcing of the TTPS, CCTV digital camera footage, correct aerial surveillance, insufficient courtroom amenities, safety of witnesses and jail reform. There are various legal guidelines on the statute books, however what’s required is the implementation and enforcement of these legal guidelines. The one approach ahead will not be solely in laws however a complete overhaul of the prison justice system and that dialogue should happen with all of the stakeholders concerned.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Opposition Chief of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
9 February 2021