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Trinidad: POLITICIANS BAIL ON COPS

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith minced no words on Monday as he trained his guns squarely at politicians, three days after the Bail Amendment Bill – designed to prevent suspects charged with possession of arms and ammunition from getting bail for 120 days – failed to get the requisite votes in Parliament last Friday.

At a press conference, Griffith slammed politicians for not supporting the police by implementing stricter regulations for gun offences. He said all efforts of the police in finding and arresting criminals were futile if people held with guns and ammunition continue to get bail.

Responding to critics who said the accused are entitled to bail, Griffith said the public also has a right to live, citing countries in Europe and South America that have implemented stiffer penalties for firearm possession with some success. Referring to high-calibre bullets and rapid-fire, assault rifles and machine guns as “cop-killers,” he said it necessary for politicians, on both sides, to put aside differences for the sake of the police.

“We have a situation where someone is held, you immediately get bail, through the criminal justice system several years will pass and by that time the witness may no longer be interested and even if the suspect pleads guilty, he is fined $5,000.

“When young people…were frustrated recently, the fine for them swimming was $50,000 and if someone bounces a $600 cheque (the fine) is more than being caught with a firearm. Only in this country can someone be held for ammunition and get bail the next day. I am asking the public to stand fast on this one, it’s not about red and yellow,” he said, in a reference to party politics.

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