Last update: 06-Dec-2013 8:28 pm
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Time for Action
Enough talk—time for action on crime! That was National Security Minister designate Gary Griffith’s opening salvo to reporters yesterday, minutes after he was named by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to take over the portfolio from Emmanuel George. Griffith, as well as incoming senators Gerald Hadeed and Raziah Ahmed, will take the oath of office this morning at the President’s office, PP officials said yesterday.
Griffith, who lauded the performance of his predecessor as he became the fourth national security appointment of the PM, said George had laid the foundation and said he would be moving forward with a lot of those initiatives. He, however, repeated: “(It’s) enough talk—time for action now...” On the protests at Beetham Gardens which ignited this week, Griffith said T&T’s police force was second to none and he would want to ensure law enforcement had the tools for performance.
Griffith said he spent 15 years in the military, holds a MA degree in criminology and had a working knowledge of policing and other aspects of law enforcement. He said he would focus on primary crime prevention methods, rather than secondary, including channelling people’s energies away from crime. More time will also be spent on crime deterrents, law enforcement, intelligence and information gathering, “and overall, making life difficult for people who feel they can commit crime and get away with it.”
He said discussions with the Opposition on the crime problem was a step in the right direction, since the “enemy wasn’t on either side of the political bench in Parliament, but the criminal elements. “We need to move forward and not politicise crime...we need to circle the wagons and work together,” he said.
George, who replaced Jack Warner, himself a replacement for Brig John Sandy as the Government grappled with finding a formula for the crime problem, said he wasn’t disappointed by his shift from the security ministry. He said one never gets all the things done, but he would leave his performance to others to judge. Incoming Communication Minister Hadeed said: “I can only promise to be truthful to the media, communicative and honest with the media.
“When you see how I operate, we’ll work for the betterment of T&T. It’s not difficult. We haven’t communicated with the people as well as we should have and I hope to change that.” Incoming Minister of State (Gender, Youth Ministry) Ahmed said it was “time to mainstream many of the policies on the table for too long, and translate them into projects quickly.”
New Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray said she was unsure if she would be piloting the proportional representation bill in Parliament today. She said she hoped to improve structures for delivery and performance in corporations. Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal, meanwhile, said he was relieved his ministry had been split with new Minister Jairam Seemungal.
Moonilal said his former ministry had been huge, with a lot of work. “Now I can concentrate in the next 20 months a lot more on constituency work and political campaigns we have to face ahead,” he said. Moonilal said as an MP “in great demand” and PP House leader, he had a lot of work. On the Prime Minister’s extension of an olive branch to all opposition groups, Moonilal said this approach would be “embracing of all including Mr (Jack) Warner.
“We put country first and personalities second...Mr Warner has his own political house, but in the fullness of time I’m sure we’ll be able to work with all those truly interested in T&T’s development.” Moonilal said today’s Parliament session on proportional representation legislation would go “way into the night” and included the presentation of a local government EBC order. He said he expected PNM support on the bill.
Jamal Mohammed, who lost the Communications portfolio, said with a smile: “I got a chance to serve my country and I’m very grateful. (I’m) moving on!”
Moore and Mohammed get boot
• Gary Griffith (National Security)
• Gerald Hadeed (Communications)
• Raziah Ahmed (Junior Minister of Gender, Youth & Child Development)
• Christlyn Moore (Justice)
• Jamal Mohammed (Communications)
• Emmanuel George (Justice)
• Clifton De Coteau (Gender, Youth & Child Development)
• Roodal Moonilal (Housing & Urban Development)
• Jairam Seemungal (Land & Marine Resources)
• Marlene Coudray (Local Government)
• Rodger Samuel (National Diversity & Social Integration)
• Chandresh Sharma (Tourism)
• Stephen Cadiz (Transport)
• Suruj Rambachan (Works & Infrastructure).
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