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Speaker Rejects Moonilal’s Call To Debate ‘Outrageous Murder Toll’

Speaker rejects Moonilal’s call to debate ‘outrageous murder toll’

HOUSE Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George yesterday shot down a request by Opposition Member Dr Roodal Moonilal to debate what he called the ‘outrageous murder toll’ in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the final sitting of the third session of Parliament, Moonilal sought from the Speaker request for leave to move the adjournment of the House of Representatives Under Standing Order 17 to have the issue of the murder rate debated.

However, it was rejected. The fourth session of Parliament will take place on Monday with a ceremonial opening where President Christine Kangaloo will deliver her maiden address to both Lower and Upper Houses.

In a statement to the media after his motion was rejected, Moonilal said the matter was grounded on the urgent need for the Government to account to the citizens as the country has witnessed over 400 murders.

‘I was informed by the Parliament that the Speaker of the House was not satisfied that this matter of the outrageous murder situation was not urgent, definite and of public importance,’ he said. As such, the Speaker did not allow the matter to be read during yesterday’s sitting and for a record to be placed on the Hansard, said Moonilal.

‘While citizens are being murdered by the hour the Government refuses to discuss the issue of crime. Today we have a Prime Minister in isolation, a sleeping Minister of National Security and a Government hiding from the electorate,’ he said.

Moonilal said the Speaker must protect her office and ensure that it is not a ‘tool of the PNM with a surreptitious agenda’ to shield the Government from accountability.

‘It is clear that the Government has abdicated its responsibility to protect the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,’ he said.

In his request for leave from the Speaker, Moonilal stated that the Government’s failure to take decisive, urgent and critical action to protect citizens from the out-of-control increase in murder was a matter of urgent public importance.

The matter is definite because it pertains specifically to the protection of citizens from criminal elements and it concerns the very real and certain risk to their lives and wellbeing, he said.

Moonilal said the Government has mismanaged the various arms of national security which has resulted in low detection and conviction rates.

He added that the matter relates to definite steps which the Government is required to take through various national security strategies to ensure that citizens are protected.

Moonilal said the matter was urgent because the murder toll stood at 403 (on Thursday).

‘If urgent steps are not implemented, it will result in further brutal killings. It is a matter that must be urgently addressed as Trinidad and Tobago is in a state of war with the criminal elements, notwithstanding the Government hosting multi-million-dollar anticrime symposia,’ he stated.

He said the matter was of public importance because citizens of all walks of life, including the Parliament, were now fearful for their lives as there was no immediate or proactive intervention taken by the Government.

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