In 2012, then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley stated: “…if the Government can’t deal with it (crime) then the government itself is part of the problem.”
Seven years later, the problem is as bad, if not worse. If Dr Rowley established a standard back then, is he, as prime minister, now willing to accept his own pronouncements?
In the past two days—following a front-page editorial by Guardian Media—the Government has sought to placate a besieged nation.
On Sunday, National Security Minister Stuart Young offered little comfort other than to appeal to citizens to call Crime Stoppers anonymously to help identify caches of guns in their communities.
In the second attempt by the Government in as many days, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday blamed the UNC for failing to support the Government on vital legislation which, he said, was necessary to fight crime.
We see this as a distraction from a critical situation facing the country: the spate of crime which has so far claimed close to 300 lives in less than seven months. No amount of blame game will convince this crime-ravaged society that the Government is working assiduously to fight criminals.
People in Trinidad and Tobago want to be safe from the constant bloodshed. If more legislation is passed and criminals are held, the justice system, well known for its snail’s pace, will not serve up swift justice.
Only yesterday, one of the PNM’s sitting MPs Lovell Francis, a Minister in the Ministry of Education, lamented on his Facebook page that he had been threatened by gang members for government contracts in his Moruga constituency. The reality is that the crime scourge is real.
In recent days, people from across the nation have come forward to urge the Government to act.
Yesterday, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber issued a news release that began this way: “ For several years, citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have been crying out for the authorities and national leaders to address a sense of creeping anarchy. As a nation, our worst fears are now being realised... the time for assertive action on crime is now.”
We cannot remember a time when the first line in a chamber press release contained the word “anarchy.”
We’ve heard from Ministers Young and Hinds. They didn’t seem up for the task.
A crime-battered nation wants to hear from you, Dr Rowley. They want to hear your plan.
If you don’t outline one soon, citizens might agree with your 2012 statement “that if the Government can’t deal with it (crime), then the government itself is part of the problem.”