Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has commended Police Commissioner Gary Griffith for his all-out war against gangsters but said the lucrative contracts given to gang leaders under the Rowley administration is undermining efforts to stop the gang war.
In a statement yesterday, Moonilal called on Rowley to terminate contracts with gang leaders and to take action against any minister who gave contracts to gangsters.
Ironically, under Moonilal’s tenure as Housing Minister in 2013, contracts were given to known gang leaders, some of whom were arrested by police last week.
Yesterday, he maintained: “Rowley’s regime has been grossly negligent in dealing with the scourge of gang warfare.”
He added: “One report exposes the fact that the government has been sitting on a shocking 2014 study, and has continued to feed alleged gangsters by providing them with lucrative taxpayer-funded contracts,”
He was referring to a 17-page report compiled by Griffith when he served as Minister of National Security.
“The Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration had taken decisive and far-reaching decisions following allegations pertaining to LifeSport, and had also facilitated an independent investigation,” he said.
Moonilal said Government failed to act in a timely manner on police intelligence gathering in spite of the passage of anti-gang legislation.
“The fact that taxpayer-financed agencies are still providing rewarding contracts to gangsters four years after the comprehensive report is a serious indictment on the incompetent PNM administration. It also contradicts the oft-stated all-of-government approach to crime-fighting.
He noted that senior government officials have repeatedly stated that they have names and addresses of gang operatives.
“Indeed, the prime minister harbours senior ministers of his government with known links to people before the courts on drug trafficking charges and other alleged gang leaders. Instead, the bald facts prove that the ruling regime has facilitated the growth of the deadly gang culture,” he said.
Moonilal said instead of blaming the past government, Rowley should assist law enforcement agencies by acting on the significant findings of the two reports.