Not one cent!

Then National Security Minister John Sandy, left, shakes hand with then Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs, while Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, right, and Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maraj look on.

PORT OF SPAIN — One year after the state of emergency “not one red cent” has been paid to any of the thousands detained.

On the eve of the anniversary of the declaration of the emergency, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said government had no regrets about calling the emergency.

“During the state of emergency, in the aftermath of the negative publicity, the gloom and doom of lawsuits against the state, I am pleased to announce, one year on, not one red cent has been paid out because none of the claims by detainees have been successful in courts,” he added.

The Attorney General said several of the detainees arrested during the emergency have since been arrested and charged with other crimes.

He added: “A number of the detainees also have been sentenced and convicted and others have perished in gunfire, whether at the hands of gangs but mostly in the course of some illegal enterprise.

“With the benefit of hindsight, one can always see room for improvement but by and large the national security agencies preformed quite well.

“In comparison to other countries where emergencies exist there were minimum reports of police and army brutalities. There were no reports of citizens’ property being confiscated by Army or Police and there was a very responsible, mature and disciplined approach to the performance of their duties at a time when they had greater powers over the citizenry.”

Ramlogan also spoke about the controversial anti-gang legislation. One of the major successes of the legislation, Ramlogan said, was its deterrent value.

He said: “The anti-gang legislation has been modelled on similar legislation which exists elsewhere in the world. One of the major successes is its deterrent value.”

The police, he said, have received training and experience [through the emergency] in the implementation of the law. A dedicated unit has been formed to deal with the suppression of gangs, he said. While he could not provide recent statistics on gang-related crime, he said there had been a reduction in the number of gang-related murders.

Twenty-one men from Nelson Street who were detained during the emergency laid claims of victimisation against the Government and even planned on suing the state for wrongful imprisonment and false arrest with the assistance of former PM and leader of the United National Congress Basdeo Panday.

Some of the Nelson Street men who were released, Ramlogan said, were later identified in CCTV footage robbing a woman during daylight on Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain. As a consequence of that, Ramlogan said, he had “mandated the Law Reform Commission to produce a paper with a view to having Cabinet consider the introduction of tough and strict photo and video enforcement laws that will facilitate a more expeditious criminal trial.” (Guardian)

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