Cabinet is going through the procurement process to get more CCTV cameras – and there ought to be consequences for secondary school students demonstrating violent behaviour, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.
Speaking at a media conference at the Piarco International Airport after returning from Barbados, Rowley said Cabinet has cleared moves to get more CCTV cameras, identified funding for it and is going through the procurement process.
He added that Government didn’t need UNC MP Roodal Moonilal to call for CCTV cameras since there are cameras in use and while some needed ongoing maintenance and upgrade, Cabinet’s also already addressing this.
On the rising murder rate, Rowley noted T&T’s nature as a violent society.
He said, “In recent years, people have gotten their hands on firearms and heavier weapons – automatic assault weapons – and some of our people have been engaged in crime for profit and it’s something that’s attracted the Government’s attention and we have elements of state engaged in doing what is doable in trying to identify the potential for these crimes to take place and seeking to disarm people.
“But there are a lot of crimes done and are only known to us when it’s done in the household. I know there are calls for Government to do more, but there are certain limitations to what the Government can do with respect to household crimes.”
He said the Government is engaged on dealing with the gun crimes, while the TTPS and SSA were focused on gathering information. Rowley appealed to the public to support the TTPS with information on culprits with firearms they might know.
The Prime Minister also said he was very concerned about reports of secondary school students fighting.
“While I understand that it’s an environment of being locked up for two years (and) some children are releasing some negative energy, but the violence I’ve seen is unacceptable,” he said.
He said the Education Ministry is currently reviewing the process by which students who show violent behaviour are restrained.
“You’ ll hear more in future. But there ought to be consequences for violent behaviour, as well as providing support for children to reduce their opportunities to act out in violent ways,” he said.
He said there are also issues to be dealt with regarding videos of students fighting.
“One of which is that consequences flow from actions and children need to be aware of that and we also need to recruit the parents of these children to join in assessing their behaviour and encouraging improvements in their conduct,” he also said.
He said all of these children would have parents whom he’d like to believe won’t condone the violence.
“That’s one area which needs to be attended to.”
Rowley, however, said there would be no return to corporal punishment and “beat our way out of this.”
On reports of paedophiles applying to enter the teaching service, he said he wasn’t aware the Teaching Service Commission’s interview had a part asking if people were paedophiles. He said there was no register for this in T&T to identify them yet either.
Adjustments on cruise ships, unvaccinated travellers
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has confirmed further adjustments are ahead to restrictions where entry into T&T of unvaccinated travellers is concerned and also regarding the cruise ship business – but face masks in public will remain.
He said the country needed to focus on the fact COVID-19 is still present and other countries are still battling economic disruptions from the virus.
“We’ve been through a lot, it cost us a lot and we’d hate to end up in a situation where we have economic disruptions. The medical advice is we continue to wear the mask as it reduces if not eliminates individual exposure,” Rowley said.
“We expect to make further adjustments, we’ll meet with the team sometime soon.
“There are very few things to adjust anyway– the entry into the country of unvaccinated travellers and the cruise ship business. I’m in constant communication with the Tourism Minister on that.”
He said a decision was being made on that and a note was to have come to Cabinet on that yesterday.
He said he hoped the note did come to take some action on the cruise ship side and on the travel side in general.
But T&T will still see masks required in public spaces for a while.