President of the San Fernando Business Association (SFBA), Daphne Bartlett, is in full support of the limited state of emergency which took effect from midnight on Sunday.She said the SFBA had been calling for that course of action for years as a way of tackling the crime situation in the country. "We are in support of it. We have been over the last how many years asking Government to introduce a limited state of emergency so that they can get all the guns and ammunition hanging around in the country," she said.
Bartlett said that course of action would not be detrimental to the country's international image. She added: "I don't think it will affect us to that large extent. You just have to look at London where they had the mayhem taking place.
"We were thinking that the Government was not in control but a week later the Government showed us."
Bartlett said the local justice system must work in tandem with the security system to deliver swift justice.
She added: "We have to punish these criminals quickly. Don't let the cases go on for five years and so on." Adding that even the average man on the streets knows where the guns were, Bartlett asked why Minister of National Security John Sandy was not focussing on those entry points. She recalled that three years ago then Minister of National Security Martin Joseph had said there were more than 100 gangs and gang leaders in the country.
Bartlett suggested that Sandy use that intelligence to tackle crime. She commended Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs for some of the anti-crime measures instituted in recent months. Bartlett said she has seen an increase in police patrols on the streets and air patrols by the National Security helicopters.
"Things are being put in place but gangs remain a big problem in Trinidad. The illicit drug trade is one of the major cause for the wanton killings," she said. Noting, however, there were innocent people who got caught in the mayhem, she added: "I was so happy to hear the Prime Minister say all citizens of T&T, not just a few, have their civic rights and it's their duty to ensure that everyone enjoys them." Bartlett suggested that the authorities take into consideration tertiary level students who usually complete classes between 8 pm and 8.30 pm.