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Tackle crime at all levels—Chamber
The Government must provide long-term solutions to tackle crime, especially as the detection rate remains abysmally low. This was the urgent call made by senior vice-president of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce Moonilal Lalchan at a breakfast meeting hosted by the chamber at Westmoorings yesterday.
He also urged the National Security Ministry to move with haste in implementing proper and sustainable anti-crime measures, as crime continued to have a detrimental effect on the business community and by extension T&T’s international image.
“Less than a year has passed since the state of emergency ended, and while we supported the SoE at the time to allow for the simultaneous development of a holistic crime plan, we are now seeing a clear return to gang warfare and serious crime,” Lalchan said “The current situation cannot be allowed to continue, and we strongly believe that the Government must offer solutions that can bring about a long-term improvement in the crime situation.”
Saying there was need for an integrated approach based on better policing and an improved judicial system, Lalchan added that an improved social-services delivery system, more focused on delivering an education curriculum that facilitates the holistic development of the nation’s youth, was also integral. He also hinted at the chamber’s 2012/2013 budget demands.
“In our own recommendations to the upcoming national budget 2012-2013, the chamber re-emphasised the urgent need for Government to ensure that all relevant ministries work together in fighting this scourge that plagues our nation.” He said the chamber recommended that the Government put its resources into three major initiatives:
• Prisoner rehabilitation;
• youth development; and
• crime management.
“Just as the effects of crime are widespread, so too are the causes, which range from problems within the family to the increased use of drugs, to the rise of gangs and gang warfare, Lalchan said. “Therefore the only way to effectively battle serious crime is to tackle it at all levels,” Lalchan urged. In addition to its obvious negative social impact on a wider level, he said, the country cannot develop effectively if crime is not combated.
“For yet another consecutive year, the category of crime and theft has been identified as the number one most problematic factor for doing business in Trinidad and Tobago on the 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report,” he said. “We expect that this will not change in the 2012-2013 report.”
Lalchan said the chamber viewed crime —both blue-collar and white-collar—as main deterrents to economic development and investment, as businesses are affected at all levels, from international competitiveness to employers and employees. “Blue-collar crime can lead to the loss of life, but other impacts include increased cost of security and provision for theft,” he said.
“In some cases, productivity can be affected for those businesses that are in high-risk areas.” White-collar crimes, he added, directly affected Government’s revenues and the long-term survival of companies, which could also affect economic performance. “In some cases, there is also the impact on individuals who may lose hard-earned savings and investments because of fraud,” he said.
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