After close to ten hours of debate, the House of Representatives passed the amendment to the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act close to midnight on Wednesday which will see the removal of the controversial Section 34.
Debate on the amendment began at 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday and concluded at 11.35 p.m. with 35 MPs present voting in favour.
The amendment was then taken to the Senate yesterday for debate where it was also expected to be passed with full support before it is sent to the President for his assent.
Section 34 was proclaimed by the President on August 30.
The proclamation opened the door for accused persons such as business executives Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson to apply to a judge to throw out their cases if more than ten years had passed since the commission of the alleged offence and if the trial had not yet started.
Opposition MP Colm Imbert argued that there was a widely held view by the public that there was a conspiracy on part of the Government to have this Act proclaimed so hastily.
He said in order for an Act to be proclaimed the Cabinet must meet and deliberate on the matter after which a Cabinet note is sent to the Attorney General's office which will then draft the proclamation and send it to the President.
Government, said Imbert, must explain the decision-making process that led to the proclamation of Section 34.
He added that when the Act was debated in the Parliament, Justice Minister Herbert Volney gave an undertaking that there would be no proclamation unless relevant legal infrastructure was put into place.
Imbert questioned who drafted Section 34 and further queried whether the Legislative Review Committee had reviewed it as well as the Cabinet subcommittee.
In wrapping up the debate, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan reiterated that all members of the House, including the Opposition, voted for the bill.
He said for the Opposition to suggest that something went wrong in the Senate was an accusation against their own Opposition senators.
He questioned whether the People's National Movement (PNM) would now ask the President to revoke the appointment of Opposition Senators because they too voted in favour of the act, including Section 34.
Ramlogan argued further that the moment the Act was passed in both Houses a legal right had been given for accused persons to access the courts.
He added that whether the Act was proclaimed three, four or five years from now the outcome would be the same, in fact it would be strengthened.
Ramlogan said there are many poor people in this country who could not afford bail and who are languishing behind bars for years and who could have benefitted from the legislation.
He questioned whether the Opposition would be in uproar if the persons who stood to benefit from the Act were "John Nelson" and "Maniram Singh" from Laventille and Caroni respectively.