Amend the Bail Act, T&T’s Police Commissioner urges legislators

Trinidad and Tobago’s Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on Wednesday reiterated his call for an amendment to the Bail Act, particularly as it relates to firearm offenders after a magistrate court last week imposed a TT$16,000 fine on a man after he pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Gary Griffith, the Police Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago, wants the Bail Act to be changed.

“What the accused got was a pat on the back and a free pass, knowing there are no consequences for his actions,” Griffith said in a statement.

“A person who issues a bounced cheque can be fined up to 10 times the amount of the cheque and can also be sent to prison for five years. But someone who was caught with a gun which can kill is back out the very same day.”

Deal with offenders

Griffith has been calling on legislators to amend the law so that persons held with any illegal firearm can be denied bail for a period up to 120 days. While the Keith Rowley government is in support of the measure, opposition legislators have been critical of the potential amendment, and their support is required in order for the special majority to be achieved in the Parliament to amend the legislation.

Griffith said that he was also urging judicial officers to deal with firearm offenders in a “more serious way” after the accused, who was not identified in the statement, was fined by a Sangre Grande Magistrate Court last week.

According to the police statement, the man pleaded guilty and was fined TT$10,000 for possession of a firearm, TT$6,000 for possession of ammunition and allowed 90 days to pay or in default face two years hard labour in jail.