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Public Can’t Wait Longer
With a record murder rate so far for 2014, T&T can be described as one of the deadliest nations in the world, Opposition MP Colm Imbert said yesterday. He made the comment in presenting a private motion in the name of Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald in the House of Representatives, as he noted the public was losing its patience with all the unkept promises on crime.
The motion contended that violent crime continues to be at an unacceptable level and the Government has been unable to effectively reduce it. It called on MPs to insist the Government take immediate steps to deal with the unacceptable crime level. Up to press time yesterday, the murder rate was 46 in 31 days.
Imbert began his presentation saying: “If boasting, grand charge and gun talk would deal with the crime situation, this Government would have solved our crime problem,” adding the Government seems to believe boasting and idle threats will solve the problem.
He recalled that in 2005 while Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz was chairman of the Keith Noel Foundation, he led a death march in Port-of-Spain, demanding that the crime problem be solved immediately by the then People’s National Movement government. He said now that Cadiz was in the Government, he was implying that the solution cannot be found immediately and would take a longer period.
Noting that he was unaware of any murder occurring yesterday up to the time of his contribution, Imbert said: “As of yesterday (Thursday), 45 people had been killed for the month of January 2014.” Chief whip McDonald chimed in: “That is a record.” Imbert said Cadiz was not marching against crime now.
“He is saying the population has to wait, that is what he is saying now,” Imbert told legislators, adding that after almost four years in office, the Government could no longer call on the citizenry to exercise patience on the high crime levels. Saying he was dealing with the substantive issue, Imbert said with 45 murders in 30 days translated for the year would result in “a grand total in 2014 of 547 (murders) at the rate we are going.”
According to the Diego Martin North/East MP, based on the number of murders in the first 14 days of the year the country would have had an estimated 700 murders this year. He said T&T features among world deadliest nations in the world. He quoted a December 2010 article published in the Huffington Post which ranked T&T tied with Colombia as the 13 ranked nations for murders. “If you take the murder pattern for January 2014, we will end up with a murder per capita of over 40 per hundred thousand for this year,” he said.
Imbert said that “will place us among the deadliest countries in the world, put us with Guatemala and other countries where life is extremely cheap.” He said facing that situation, the Government was only boasting. He said the Government had dismantled many initiatives of the previous government to deal with crime, including the Special Anti Crime Unit of T&T, it cancelled the multi-million-dollar contract with BAE to purchase three offshore patrol vessels and it sold the blimp (airship) which provided aerial surveillance.
Imbert said because of those measures and others, the country now has no ability to protect its borders, no special units to deal with gang crimes, no ability to deal with surveillance, and zero ability to have a focused and comprehensive ability to deal with crime.