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Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.

Lobby Government for non-lethal weapons!

Conscientious civic organisations should bring pressure on the Government on the important matter of allowing women non-lethal weapons like pepper spray for protection.

That’s the call from Opposition UNC MP Roodal Moonilal after Prime Minister Keith Rowley on Wednesday said legislation for allowing use of pepper spray isn’t in front of Government now, but a decision is in front of the Sstate on whether such devices are suitable for widespread use in the population.

Rowley was responding in Parliament to Opposition queries on use of non-lethal weapons to deter criminals. Rowley was asked about it after Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he wanted to speak to Government about having pepper spray for citizens’ protection. Griffith spoke after the murder of Barataria teen Ashanti Riley whose death Rowley lamented last weekend.

On the issue, Rowley said, “The position as stated by ,me as Prime Minister is that on this particular matter and similar matters, Government will be advised by the appropriate experts and other considerations in the issue of any such material in the public setting,”

But Moonilal said,”Women must be allowed to arm themselves. Dr Rowley is dilly-dallying on the life-and-death issue of defenceless citizens protecting themselves from predators, by being armed with pepper spray and other non-lethal weapons.”

He accused Rowley of using ” in his time-worn vacillation” by stating Government has to be advised by “appropriate experts”.

“Who could these experts be when Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has recommended use of such non-lethal weapons by vulnerable members of the society? Such protective devices are widely used in several countries.”

” While Government continues twiddling on this critical issue, endangered citizens are being mercilessly killed or sexually assaulted by vicious, pathological criminals. Government’s indecisiveness on this is another graphic example of its lack of empathy for victims of crime and its overall raw incompetence. I strongly implore them to become proactive on citizen security: permit use of non-lethal weapons quickly, give people a fighting chance, “

Amid local and international observation of efforts to curb violence against women and girls, midday visitors to San Fernando General Hospital witnessed a man beating a woman in the hospital’s car park. The incident had to be reported to police.