The Opposition Leader said there are adequate laws on the books to deal with dangerous criminals who have either committed or are about to commit criminal offences. He said the Prime Minister should seek legal guidance rather than threaten that criminal elements will be unleashed, with the clear intent of fear mongering among citizens.
He said all detainees under the State of Emergency should have been held on “reasonable cause” and the country expects that in period of the SOE “reasonable cause” should have been converted into evidence, so charges could be brought.
The Opposition Leader said the Prime Minister must explain what is causing the delay, particularly when he can speak so specifically about past and future criminal activities of these ‘twenty criminals’ and the existence of witnesses, yet there is an apparent inability to bring charges. There has also been little effort to mobilize public support as there has been no publication of photographs and information on wanted men, he said.
In a statement today responding to the newspaper interviews by the Prime Minister, Dr. Phillips said his comments were alarmist, highly irresponsible and smacks of petulance because the Opposition responsibly exercised its constitutional duty to ensure that all actions of the government conform to the rule of law. He said the Opposition has always been and will remain firmly committed to the fight against criminals, but in that pursuit the innocent must be protected.
The Opposition Leader said the right to life is uppermost in our focus and the framers of our constitution understood that such an objective is not incompatible with fairness for all. “We must therefore resolutely punish only the guilty and protect the innocent from abuse” he said.
The Opposition Leader also noted that neither the Prime Minister nor any other member of the government has put forward any argument to successfully refute the opinion and advice of various legal luminaries accepted by the Opposition that an extension of the SOEs in current circumstances could be ruled unconstitutional. It is, therefore, apparent that the government recognizes that it cannot do so.
As a result, Dr. Phillips said, led by the Prime Minister they have resorted to fear mongering and abuse of Opposition members.
Dr. Phillips questioned how long the Prime Minister has been in possession this information and are members of the Joint Forces yet in possession of it to allow for appropriate action.
Dr. Phillips said he was calling on the Prime Minister to urgently allow the security forces and prosecutors to act on the information he has and retract his alarmist statement.
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