The much-anticipated Anti-Gang Bill went through committee stage with amendments in the Lower House on Tuesday following a marathon sitting of Parliament. The bill was one of the hottest topics discussed during Tuesday\u2019s session with parliamentarians either commending or expressing their misgivings about the measure that Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said is aimed at curbing the increasing spate of gang-related activities across the island. The bill will be debated in the Senate next Thursday. Nevertheless, that did not prevent some opposition United Workers Party (UWP) MPs from throwing a jab or two at some of the premises laid out in the anti-gang measure that penalises members of criminal gangs. Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert, who was sworn into that office earlier in the day, said that while steps needed to be taken to curb crime, the definition of \u201cgang\u201d in the bill appears to be ambiguous. The bill, she added, has been found wanting. \u201cWe on this side recognise that we can no longer continue in an environment where the criminals appear to have their way,\u201d Dr. Rigobert said. \u201cThat is precisely that we, too, want to live in a safe environment that we have gone through this bill very thoroughly to highlight its shortcomings. And we recognise all too well that legislation is crafted in time and space, that it speaks to the context of the day. But it also has in-built some kind of capacity to anticipate that which is likely to occur tomorrow. So we must ask ourselves the question: what kind of society are we creating when we introduce a bill such as this in its current form?\u201d Dr. Rigobert questioned the need for the bill, asking whether the current Criminal Code wasn\u2019t sufficient enough to deal with what the bill speaks to. She noted that some rights to which Saint Lucians are entitled might be infringed upon should the Anti-Gang Bill be made law. \u201cThis piece of legislation, in my opinion, will entrap most of the young men in our communities who simply sit on the block,\u201d the newly-minted leader of the opposition stated. \u201cSo the question must be asked, therefore: is there an inherent class or geographic prejudice in here that the form of recreation that some persons, depending on their social circumstances can afford, is really to sit on a block?\u201d Castries Central MP, Richard Frederick, said the bill is likely to attract a litany of litigations from people who might think they are being victimised. In short, the Castries Central MP said the bill was \u201clacking\u201d. \u201cI see this piece of legislation as a lawyers\u2019 paradise,\u201d Frederick quipped. \u201cLawyers will make a lot of money off this piece of legislation because there will be challenges left, right and centre. I know they will challenge it, Mr. Speaker, (because) quite a number of the sections are indeed too draconian.\u201d However, Prime Minister Anthony said the intention of the bill is not to persecute innocent people but, rather, to make people think twice about joining criminal gangs. The prime minister said the judiciary will determine whether or not suspects accused of committing an offence are indeed members of a gang. The prime minister said that while citizens have the right to assemble, they do not have the right to assemble and form criminal gangs. \u201cI\u2019m not saying that this piece of legislation is perfect,\u201d Dr. Anthony said. \u201cAs a matter of fact, (Frederick) may be right that the lawyers will have a field day (with it). But I would prefer that the legislation be in place and they have a field day than it is not in place to deal with the problems that we have.\u201d Dr. Anthony said he was not opposed to any adjustments to the bill put forward by some members. However, he said the criminal elements needed to get the strong message that is being sent out via the bill. \u201cWe have to tackle this matter head-on. It cannot be that this is occurring in our society with impunity: that people are being murdered by gang members,\u201d the prime minister said. Over the past few years, the spike in violent crimes in Saint Lucia has been linked in part to criminal gangs.