Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi

QUESTION TIME: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and officials from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs field questions during the Committee stage of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill, 2019 at yesterday’s sitting of the Lower House in Parliament. 

Thunderous applause and desk-thumping filled the Parliament chamber last night as the Opposition, in a complete turnaround, voted in support of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill, 2019.

The Bill was passed unanimously with a 34 votes from the Government and Opposition benches around 7.45 p.m.

Government members appeared to be shocked when Opposition chief whip David Lee said “yes” as his name was called for a vote.

There was immediate cheering as Government members shouted “Yay!” as they clapped and pounded the tables.

Next was the vote of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

“Aye, I say Aye given the compromises made. It’s a much improved Bill. Thank you, AG,” she said, which was greeted with roaring applause from the Government benches.

Debate on the controversial Bill started last Friday and continued yesterday in the Lower House with over six hours of gruelling discussion on every clause of the legislation.

Persad-Bissessar came armed with a slew of amendments, some of which were accepted by the Government. She and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi spent the majority of the time battling over the Bill.

Get caught up with news from the news leader
Subscribe now and get access to the Trinidad Express E-paper
SUBSCRIBE/ LOG IN

“Honourable members on a division, 34 members voted for, no members voted against and there were no abstentions,” House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George said after the vote was taken.

Earlier, during the Committee stage, Persad-Bissessar warned that there were dangers in the Bill, adding she was prepared to go to the courts to ensure it does not impact on constitutional provisions.

She said there was danger in having a person and their family members’ assets openly filed in the courts before they are found to have unlawful wealth.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

THE 11-year-old schoolgirl shot on Monday in East Port of Spain while she was in a relative’s car was operated on and is in stable condition at hospital. The relative believes the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

THE post-registration deportation of Venezuelans has begun. Minister of National Security Stuart Young said yesterday he spent “some time” on Monday in his office signing a number of deportation orders.

THE Government has backed down and completely deleted the controversial Clause 7 amendment to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Finance Minister Colm Imbert said in the Senate on Monday night this was done based on the arguments put forward by Independent Senator Sophia Chote SC.

A YELLOW weather alert remains in effect for Trinidad and Tobago. Both the T&T Meteorological Service and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) yesterday issued a yellow alert — meaning moderate risk to public safety, livelihoods and property.

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) says it is pleased that the Government was responsive to overwhelming public opinion and decided to retreat from its proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).