Trinidad and Tobago’s attorney general, Faris al Rawi, finished up the parliamentary debate over the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill, 2019. The legislation targets corruption as part of a larger aim to establish an agency responsible for recovering criminal property and restricting ill-gotten assets.
However, the bill has come under fire by the country’s opposition, as well as some social media users. Al Rawi has firmly defended the bill, however, saying that “innocent people” with nothing to hide should not be concerned.
This is not the first time that such legislation has been proposed. Before elections in 2015, when the current opposition party was in government, the then national security minister, Gary Griffith (now the country’s commissioner of police), brought a civil asset forfeiture document to the cabinet. Because the legislation was not passed back then, Al Rawi said he was not surprised by the opposition’s reaction to the current bill, which they called “draconian” and “unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Griffith maintained that passing the bill would help police tackle white-collar crime, which is rampant in Trinidad and Tobago. He added that it would help to block “gang leaders and criminal elements” from getting state contracts, a fairly common occurrence.