THERE will be no “start from scratch” for deportees returning to Trinidad and Tobago under the Bail (Amendment) Bill, Attorney Anand Ramlogan has said.
Ramlogan made the statement on Friday as the Lower House addressed several amendments to the Bill proposed by the Senate.
The Bail (Amendment) Bill, which has the power to determine whether suspected offenders stay behind bars, made its way back to the Lower House after being passed in the Senate with amendments.
The amendments were eventually approved in the Lower House with a vote of 27 for and 12 against, with no abstentions.
Ramlogan said “a most significant amendment” to the Bill has to do with the treatment of criminal deportees and their past indiscretions.
“Convictions recorded and given by a court of competent jurisdiction outside of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, those convictions will now count, so criminal deportees who come to Trinidad and they are deported because they have come out of jail and a US (United States) marshal accompanies them onboard the flight and they come and walk straight into the society, they will be carrying with them their convictions and under this law it will count, so that if they re-offend, their liberty will be in jeopardy and to jail they shall go,” Ramlogan said.
“So criminal deportees must beware, it is not that you are starting from scratch, your previous convictions in a foreign jurisdiction will count,” Ramlogan said.
And Wayne Chance, executive president of inmate rehabilitation centre Vision on Mission, said he would have to look at the Bail Bill and the impact it may have on deportees.
Chance questioned whether transferring of a conviction is in fact legal.
He said his organisation, which works with deportees, usually has the criminal background of the individuals, but this is for information purposes rather than for being used in court.
Chance said he would make a more in-depth response to the situation following a thorough perusal of the Bill.