Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (TDN) -- The Trinidad and Tobago government has proposed a bill that will give soldiers powers similar to that of the police in an effort to crack down on the high level of crime in the country.
The legislation will allow members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) to function and perform the duties of a police officer. Cabinet had earlier approved and confirmed support for the legislation.
According to the official release, the proposed bill will give legal protection to Defence Force personnel when they accompany police officers to assist in the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences.
The soldiers however will not act on their own but will always be accompanied by police officers. They will enjoy the same rights, privileges and immunities as police officers and will be able make arrests, search, seize and carry arms.
News of the legislation comes as the government tries to fight back against escalating crime levels in the twin island republic, which has already seen a total of 73 murders committed so far in 2013.
Daily news reports also detail a marked increase in gang violence and increased drug trafficking on the island.
In addition, the opposition has called for the resignation of the country’s security minister Jack Warner over what it called the existence of a flying squad operating within the ranks of the Police force.