T&T ‘DNA Bill will help solve crimes’

(Trinidad Express) The passage of the new DNA Bill in Parliament will allow the Government to take DNA samples from persons detain-ed and possibly solve crimes that have remained a mystery for years, says Justice Minister Herbert Volney.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at the Parliament sitting on Sunday where a motion was passed to extend the State of Emer-gency by three months, said legislation will be brought immediately to the House to aid in Government’s crime fight.

This includes the immediate introduction of four bills—Abolition of Preliminary Enquiries Bill, establishment of a gun court bill, electronic monitoring bill (allowing police to use GPS technology to track the movements of defendants) and the new DNA Bill.

Volney said many of the initiatives proposed are recommended by the Justice Ministry.

He said under the DNA law, “We will start testing the 1,500 men (arrested during the State of Emergency) and try to solve some of the unresolved cases.”

He said the abolition of preliminary enquiries bill is currently before the Legislative Review Committee (LRC) and will be ready for debate in the House soon.

Volney was also named by the Prime Minister to be part of a crime-reduction committee together with Minister of National Security (John Sandy), Attorney General (Anand Ramlogan), Minister of the People and Social Development (Glenn Ramadharsingh), Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development (Verna St Rose Greaves, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and business community, a child psychologist, probation office and labour.

Volney withheld comment on this, saying he had not yet seen the terms of reference for the committee.

He said the State of Emergency has been a success thus far and it was his personal view that one kilometre along the areas of the coast line should also fall under curfew to prevent drugs from entering the country.

Questioned on the concerns by the Opposition that the drug kingpins were being protected and not hunted, Volney said, “I think those statements by the Opposition were highly irresponsible for the simple reason that they are premised on the basis that there are other people that we are not going behind and if such persons exist, the Opposition has a duty to point out these persons and provide whatever information they have at hand to the law enforcement agencies, otherwise stop making these allegations.”

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