(Trinidad Guardian) If brothels and drug blocks did not have police protection, they could not flourish, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday. He said so while piloting an omnibus of legislation—from instituting DNA sampling for some sectors and fingerprinting in immigration procedures to modernising law for juries—to boost the criminal justice system and remove ambiguities in the law. It requires a three-fifths majority vote (19) for passage.
On proposals for DNA samples to be taken from suspects, Ramlogan said T&T had an horrific crime situation in which a small group of dissidents were holding it to ransom and as hostage, further complicated by a low detection rate. He said police needed to be equipped to do a better job since DNA samples they have were useless without a database to match it.
Ramlogan said Govern-ment made no apologies either for the thrust in seeking DNA samples from police, Coast Guard, fire officers and similar others, despite concerns from some. Those enforcing the law must be subject to the law and not above the law, he added. Noting myriad reports of police, for instance, on charges of rape, human trafficking and theft, he also said ballistics tests traced the bullet that killed a south Trinidad man to a Palo Seco station, fuelling perception that police rent out their guns to kidnappers.
Ramlogan said if one was part of the problem, one could not be part of the solution. “If you are duty bound to uphold the law, you should have no problem in giving a DNA sample to uphold the law,” he said. Saying deportees were responsible for the spike in crime in the last decade, he said the Immigration Division would be mandated to take DNA samples from deportees no more than 12 hours after their arrival, since they often came to T&T with no records or bogus records.
He added: “Deportees have contributed in no small measure to the gang-related violence. “They have brought with them not only a different culture but an uplift in the criminal enterprises which they learned from those countries from which they were deported and they have transplanted that into T&T where there is fertile soil for it to grow and that is what, in no small way, has led to the escalation in criminal activity we have witnessed in the last decade.
“Government makes no apologies whatsoever for saying all deportees will now be subject to mandatory DNA sampling. “If you are being deported to T&T, regardless of whether you have been found guilty of an offence or not, you will be fingerprinted and will have to submit to DNA sampling.” Ramlogan said there were many deportees who came to T&T and were not convicted of a criminal offence but got off on a technicality or the witness got shot.
He said the court or state in question were sometimes happy to deport the person, since there may be a cloud of suspicion over them but evidence was lacking and the territory may fashion a remedy for them to “go back home.” He said Govern-ment had been liaising with the relevant foreign governments to say “don’t just drop them in our laps” but collaborate so T&T could have advance notice, receive deportees properly and treat them with dignity while also insisting on T&T’s security.