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Jack: Law to precept soldiers in 60 days

Legislation for the precepting of soldiers is due to come to Parliament "in the next 60 days", National Security Minister Jack Warner said yesterday.

Responding to questions on his plan to give soldiers powers of arrest, Warner said "everything was in the hand of the Attorney General's Department. They have to bring the legislation to Parliament and I have been advised that this would be done in the next 60 days".

Asked about claims by former flying squad member Mervyn Cordner that the clandestine squad had been revamped and was allegedly operating outside the Police Service, Warner said: "Flying whom? Flying what?"

Speaking at yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Prime Minister's Office in St Clair, Warner said he continued to be amazed and mystified at the ease with which people in this country believe anything.

"I don't know Mervyn Cordner of the Flying Squad...I know Mervyn Cordner," he said.

Told that Cordner was at the Ministry of National Security yesterday, Warner said he didn't meet with him nor did he have any idea why Cordner was there.

He said he was fully advised that Cordner did not meet with the permanent secretary.

Warner also said he was not aware of any money owed to Cordner for what he has done or failed to do. He added that no formal approach had been made to him or the ministry for any money by Cordner. He said he was not aware of any Flying Squad.

Cordner had claimed that he had been approached by Warner to lead the unit. But Warner, who had spoken last year about the possibility of a "sanitised version" of the Flying Squad being reinstituted, has consistently distanced himself from Cordner's claim.

Reiterating that the 2013 edition was one of the safest Carnivals ever, Warner said in 2011 there were 64 Carnival-related offences, in 2012 there were 74, and in 2013 there were 42.

These offences included robbery, larceny, wounding, disorderly behaviour, resisting arrest, fighting, assault occasioning a wound, malicious damage, rape, and possession of offensive weapons.

He said 33 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on Monday or Tuesday.

He said there was one Carnival-related murder, but there were five murders over the Carnival period.

In 2011, there were ten Carnival-related murders and in 2012, there was one Carnival-related murder.

He said the ministry was inviting Bill Bratton, the most successful crime-fighter in the New York Police Department, to give a series of lectures to improve the crime-detection rates.

Warner said in the fullness of time this would improve.

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