Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says citizens should be allowed to carry guns to protect themselves and their families from the criminals in Trinidad and Tobago.

She made that call during a news conference at her Charles Street, Port-of-Spain office on Monday.

According to the Trinidad Guardian newspaper, Persad-Bissessar said the country has recorded the highest number of murders for any January month in the country’s post Independence history. There were 53 murders with seven bodies still unclassified within the first 29 days of the year, she told reporters.

She said the country was experiencing “a degree of terrifying brutality” and it seems to have “descended into anarchy where no one is safe.”

Persad-Bissessar said the existing legal and administrative systems and procedures “need to be streamlined so that the balance can be tipped in favour of law-abiding citizens legitimately acquiring firearms to protect their homes and families.”

“People have a right to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones in the face of the State’s demonstrated inability to guarantee their safety and protection.”

“The time has come for us to also consider allowing women the right to legally carry and use pepper spray and tasers to defend themselves.”

The former prime minister said different results cannot be achieved if things continue to be done in the same way. Persad-Bissessar said the crime fight requires “extraordinary measures.”

“Citizens deserve to have a right to arm themselves.” She said the State had “failed in providing safety and security for the law abiding citizens of the country.”

She said all the safety requirements must be put in place, adding that she was not proposing that all 1.3 million citizens be granted licences to carry guns. She said she would not want to have a gun for her own safety.

She also suggested that there should be an extraordinary sitting of the Parliament to discuss the crime issue and that the hanging bill, brought by her Government in 2011 should be brought back to the Parliament for possible amendments and agreement to assist in the resumption of capital punishment for convicted murders.



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