LOBBY GROUP Fixin' T&T says it views the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Act, 2013 (formerly the Defence (Amendment) Act, 2013) passed in Parliament on Friday as "dangerous, painfully flawed and quite possibly unconstitutional".
The group, which has been speaking out against the issue, is now calling on all Independent Senators in the Upper House to categorically reject it.
According to Fixin T&T, the Bill leaves "unanswered questions about our citizens' ability to seek redress in the event of negligence by a soldier in the execution of his/her duties that results in bodily harm or damage to property".
It has also issued a call to Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar and Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar as well as attorney Dana Seetahal SC to state whether the controversial Defence (Amendment) Act, 2013 was seen and considered by the Legislative Review Committee (LRC) before it was first presented to the Cabinet, and if so, whether it was approved by the LRC to be taken before the Parliament.
Fixin' T&T is also questioning the extent of Seetahal's involvement with the Defence (Amendment) Act, 2013.
"We maintain that if there is a desire or need for army personnel to engage in police work, those officers must sever ties with the army and apply to become members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service under the exclusive direction and purview of the Commissioner of Police or be seconded to the Police Service for a specified period during which they fall under the exclusive direction and purview of the Commissioner of Police," the group stated.
It also thanked the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago for its intervention thus far and calls on its Council to very urgently study the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Act, 2013 and issue a public statement on its findings ahead of the sitting of our Senate on Tuesday.