IF the Lower House passes the Defence (Amendment) 2013 Bill, which would grant soldiers the power of arrest, then lobby group Fixin' T&T will approach an Independent Senator to present a petition signed by hundreds of citizens opposed to its proclamation.
So said the group's head, Kirk Waithe, during a protest held outside Parliament yesterday.
Less than a dozen people joined Waithe during the Express's hour-long stay at the protest site at the International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain. The protest was scheduled to start around 1.30 p.m.
"A small turn-out is fine, what we have is over 1,500 signatures (on the petition) within 24 hours," Waithe said.
"People are at work, we never encourage disruption of productivity to do these kind of things but irrespective of that the outcry against this insanity called the Defence (Amendment) Bill 2013 has been loud and it has been far and wide."
Waithe said he is "quietly optimistic that the legislators in the Lower House will do the right thing".
If, however, the Bill is passed in the Lower House, Waithe said he would step up his actions.
"I am hoping after (yesterday) we would not have to gather any more signatures, that would be ideal. I am hopeful, but failing that we will be ramping up the drive to gather signatures and the intention is to have it presented on behalf of all the signatories by an Independent Senator in the Upper House on Tuesday," Waithe said.
An Independent Senator to be given the petition has not been identified as yet.
Waithe said statements made by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Tuesday did not quell his fears about the bill.
Waithe was approached by two acting sergeants, Rohan Seepersad and Marlon Alexander, and told he could not protest outside the Parliament because he was not granted permission.