• 02 MAY 2019

Post-Cabinet Media Briefing 02.05.19

No Bail for Repeat Gun Offenders


Government will bring to Parliament an amendment to the Bail Act which will make it more difficult for persons held with illegal firearms to access bail. Under this new legislation repeat, offenders who are accused of committing serious crimes will not be granted bail.


The Hon Stuart Young, Minister of National Security, Communication and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister made the announcement at the Post-Cabinet Media briefing today.


The amendment will require a three -fifths majority and proposes the following:


  • Any person apprehended with an illegal firearm on their person will not be permitted bail for up to 120 days.
  • If a person who is out on bail commits an offence with an illegal firearm they will be denied bail.


If someone is out on bail and is then charged under any of the following Acts they will not have a right to bail:


  • Anti-Gang Act
  • Offences Against the Person Act; punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years or more
  • Dangerous Drugs Act – trafficking in drugs no bail
  • Kidnapping Act
  • Sexual Offences Act
  • The Anti-Terrorism Act
  • Trafficking in Persons Act
  • The Fire Arms Act which is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment




A New Dock for Scarborough Port


Minister Young also said Cabinet took the decision to improve the docking facility at the Scarborough Port with the construction of a new berth over the next year. He said approval for the construction of the berth will facilitate the annual cruise ship arrivals to Tobago.


He explained that the inter-island ferries cannot dock when cruise ships are at the port.


The Minister said the increase in cruise ship arrivals have warranted the additional docking facility as part of the country’s tourism drive but the berth will also be constructed to accommodate the specifications of the two fast ferries that are currently being built to service the sea bridge between Trinidad and Tobago.



Eid Holiday to Be Observed on June 5 2019


The Eid-ul-Fitr holiday will be observed on Wednesday 5th June 2019. Minister Young said Cabinet made the decision based on the advice of several local Muslim organizations.



2019 Mid-Year Fiscal Review on May 13 2019


The Hon. Colm Imbert Minister of Finance announced that the date for the budget mid-year review will take place on May 13th 2019.


He said in addition to the review of the revenue and expenditure of the first six months of the fiscal year there will also be a Supplementary Appropriation Bill to allow Ministries to deal with some long-outstanding bills to suppliers.



Government Housing Bond Approved


HDC is expected to construct 6000 houses over the next two years financed by the introduction of the Government Housing Bond.


The Minister said the one billion dollars in bonds is a key policy initiative of the Government and will provide support for the development, construction and sale of houses and will serve three purposes.


The bond will provide cash to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) towards the construction of homes, encourage savings and give people an opportunity to own their own homes.


Persons who purchase the bonds will be given first preference to HDC housing.

Minister Imbert said, “The bond is not for corporations and not for wealthy businessmen”.


Each bond will be valued at $5000 and persons who invest in these bonds will be allowed to use them as part payment for Government housing constructed by the Housing Development Corporation. The bonds will be for five years and will earn interest at a 4.5 percent rate per annum.


The funds will allow the HDC to accelerate its housing programme and deliver 3000 houses per year.  He said it is expected that the bond will generate another billion dollars per year with people converting from license to occupy to mortgage.

The Minister said it is expected that the initiative will eventually become self-financing.