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‘PNM MPs can advise on crime solutions’
In seeking solutions to T&T’s crime problem, Government should meet with Opposition MPs, many of whom represent “hotspot” constituencies, since they speak to constituents regularly and can lend valuable advice, says Laventille West MP Nileung Hypolite. Hypolite spoke yesterday after being contacted on possible solutions and the angry response of Sea Lots residents following a vehicular accident last Sunday which claimed the lives of a young mother and her two daughters.
This arose after Haydee Paul and daughters Ruthie and Shakira were killed last Sunday when an off duty policeman ploughed into them and several others as they were walking on the pavement on their way home after visiting the nearby Central Market.
On crime Hypolite agreed it would take everyone in society— Government, Opposition, security forces and other groups— to solve the problem. In this regard he said Government should consider meeting Opposition MPs since they meet with constituents every week and can volunteer advice on the lay of the land, what may need attention and how the public feels. “We are on the ground so to speak and we can help in this way.
Goverment hasn’t contacted he Opposition for any help,” he said. Hypolite agreed murders were particularly high in several Opposition constituencies, known as “crime hotspots,“ although murders and crime were taking place all over T&T. He said Government should also consider that infrastructure development is important in high crime areas. He said this assists in relieving unemployment.
“And when that happens it reduces poverty. Families are more comfortable and can focus on education for their kids and give them more attention,” he said. Hypolite is a former minister in the Ministry in Works with responsibility for URP projects. He said he felt the crime/murder problem wasn’t stemming from turf wars over project jobs since he said projects are hardly taking place.
He is currently the PNM’s shadow minister on Infrastructure, URP, local government, Housing and Transport and said he was convinced the current situation stemmed from turf wars over illegal drugs and firearms. Hypolite said recent gruesome crimes, including a beheading, appeared to bear the signature mark of drug gangs in Colombia and Mexico.
The MP said some of the guns entering T&T are more sophisticated weaponry than what police officers possess. “One of the reasons criminals can thrive is because our borders are wide open and this is why the PNM had ordered the offshore patrol vessels to secure our coastal borders via which guns and drugs infiltrate,” Hypolite said.
He said if the first vessels had arrived in T&T by 2011-12 as was planned, the proliferation of guns which had entered T&T since then might have been halted and today’s murder situation may not have been as fierce since there would have been less guns and ammunition in T&T. He said the OPVs had landing capacity for helicopters and crews and would also have been able to patrol for longer periods at sea than what currently obtains.
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