The chairman of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers (CRBC), Vivek Charran, has described the country's crime situation as alarming.
Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew on Tuesday, August 16, Charran said the number of home invasions, execution-style hits, robberies, and murders suggest crime is only getting worse.
He said the balance of power is moving towards people with illegal firearms.
“We have had meetings with the Commissioner of Police and other senior members of the Police Service but really, the situation right now is very dire,” he said, adding, “we are very concerned.”
Charran said: “We think that we are not heading in the right direction. Obviously, things are getting worse when you look at the number of drive-by shootings that we’ve had… and when you look at the fact that many of these things have been happening in broad daylight.”
The CRBC chairman says he acknowledges that the Police Service cannot solve situation on its own but maintains that what is happening now is a matter of national security.
Meanwhile, president of the Supermarkets Association, Rajiv Diptee, points out that criminals are acting with impunity, as shown in the recent shooting incident at the Residence nightclub.
“That incident at Residence [nightclub] is something that sent shockwaves through the community throughout all of Trinidad and Tobago,” he noted.
“We all know it’s one of the highly frequented night clubs in Port-of-Spain,” Diptee said, “and when an attack can take place so brazenly, it suggests the criminal element has no fear of indictment or blowback where justice is concerned.”
Diptee also revealed there has been an increase in shoplifting offences at supermarkets across the country, and in some cases, crimes against supermarkets have been well-planned and executed.
“We’ve seen gangs "We would have seen gangs moving through particular areas - whether south central east or west. What they would do is stay in an area and target supermarkets within that particular area. You would have a gang of four or five persons moving around stores and creating diversions, to allow for pilferage to take place."
The supermarkets boss noted that among the more popular items pilfered were ghee, cheese, coffee, and baby formula, to name a few.
“These are things normally under lock and key. Now, more items have gone under lock and key," he said, "and more items have gone behind the counter to make it difficult [for the shoplifters]…”
Rajiv Diptee points out, though, that the business community continues to be proactive and is working closely with the Community Policing divisions to ensure a heightened awareness of this phenomenon, and businesses stay alert.
“When they hit a store or supermarket in an area, they want to hit as many stores as possible before moving on to another area,” he explained, noting that these gangs have been moving around the country.
“You would have seen a gang in Mayaro, and in Sangre Grande, and then in Marabella. They are moving throughout the country, and it is something we are very concerned about,” Diptee said.
He also observed the current court system can be frustrating, in terms of having those arrested for such offences prosecuted in a timely manner.