Update: Debate on Bill continues Wednesday to allow all Independent Senators to present their views
The proposed legislation has passed in the House of Representatives and needs Senate approval before it can become law. The bill would give soldiers some of the powers that police have, including the authority to make arrests.
It needs the support of at least four non-government members since the government doesn't have enough votes to pass it alone. Passing the bill really depends on the independents since the opposition People's National Movement has made it clear that it would not support it.
Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds told the Express newspaper he is "anticipating, hoping and praying" that Government finds it impossible to pass what he called "that bad and unnecessary piece of legislation".
He said his party would present arguments "to demonstrate that the legislation is not warranted or justified in a society that has proper respect for the rights of the individuals and adheres to the principles of democracy”.
Government leader in the Senate Ganga Singh said he expects to get the necessary support to pass the bill. "It is a matter of public policy and it is in the public interest,” he told the Express.
He conceded that several groups oppose the measure but added that there has been "significant support" for the bill from the public. He said government did not lobby senators for their vote. "It is a matter for them to do their duty as they see fit,” Singh said. He added that Government is always prepared to listen to any “appropriate suggestions”.