IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to provide his party’s recommendation in the form of draft legislation to deal with the issue of crime and criminality in T&T. Persad-Bissessar said so in a lengthy address to last night’s second anniversary celebrations of her election as political leader of the United National Congress at Rienzi Complex, Couva. Persad-Bissessar, dressed in her yellow UNC shirt and skirt, was welcomed by thousand of supporters and serenaded on stage by calypsonian Denyse Plummer, who sang three songs—Woman is Boss, I am Alive and Nah Leaving. Persad-Bissessar held the hands of her many MPs on stage and sang and danced.
In her address, she said the Government was able to reduce crime by 25 per cent, murders by 30 per cent. “A 30 per cent drop in the murder rate is not enough?” she asked. She said it was the Opposition Leader who refused to support the Death Penalty Bill, which was necessary to ensure that convicted killers were executed in T&T. The PM said the death penalty was the law of the land and the Death Penalty Bill was necessary to ensure it was carried out. She said two letters were written to Rowley, seeking his suggestions for passage of new legislation to deal with the crime issue but almost a year later, Rowley had not responded.
She accused the PNM of engaging in a sinister political partnership with the criminals in T&T. “They are hypocrites” she insisted. Persad-Bissessar stressed that the People’s Partnership Government remained committed to implementing the death penalty in T&T. Earlier, she called on supporters to pray for the speedy recovery of former prime minister Patrick Manning. She announced a new measure for citizens 60 years or over to be allowed free travel on the inter-island ferry.
She also appealed to citizens to ensure the PP remained in power and the PNM never see the corridors of power in T&T again. “Let no one take government away from you,” she insisted. Persad-Bissessar said the biggest achievement of the PP Government was that people no longer gave credit to governments for providing the basics to citizens. She said the UNC stood for equality and fairness to all.