Kamla: PNM need to grow up and deal with the serious issues

Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar i

Rowley and the PNM need to grow up. The country is in a mess with increasing murders, mass unemployment, a shrinking economy, collapsed health care, crumbling infrastructure, dysfunctional sea-bridge, homelessness and extreme poverty and, 2019 is projected to be worse.

Instead of addressing these serious issues, they have spent four days fighting with Devant Maharaj about phone numbers!! Where are their priorities? Their behaviour is puerile and immature . They need to grow up and deal with the issues which the population demands they address.

Governance is serious business; people’s lives and livelihood are at stake.

Water Woes at Christmas

Residents of Penal/Debe area and environs, have been without a supply of water for over a week. I have been informed that the Desalcott owned and operated Point Lisas Desalination Plant is presently shutdown in parts of Central and South Trinidad. Some of the affected residents are located at Union Hall, Retrench, Golconda, Diamond and other areas. Even though operations would have been restarted in parts of Central and South, these affected households have been subjected to extreme inconvenience and health hazards resulting from the failure of the WASA to provide a pipe borne supply of water at this Christmas period.

In the circumstances, I request that the WASA undertake all necessary action to have the Desalcott operations up and running to full production at the earliest possible opportunity to provide emergency relief to the affected residents.


Charles: With over 160 murders in 128 days Minister Young’s record is worse than Minister Dillon.

With over 160 murders recorded for the 128 days since assuming office on 6th August 2018, 498 murders already on the books, and the 2018 murder rate heading for 530, the second highest ever, Minister Young who lacks the experience, qualifications, vision, track record and maturity to deal with escalating crime must do the “patriotic” thing and resign.

“Facts are stubborn things. They don’t go away. And available facts suggest that notwithstanding all the old talk and spin, Minister Young is clearly out of his depth. He has outlined no overarching, “all of government” strategy to reduce crime and therefore must be replaced by a professional who can deliver results.” says Naparima MP Rodney Charles.

What Minister Young fails to realize is that notwithstanding the encouraging efforts of the TTPS, the murder rate will always go up if our borders are not closed leading to increased availability of guns and drugs, if poverty, unemployment and income inequality increase as with the 5000 recently fired at Petrotrin, if our schools do not produce more civic minded citizens manifested in anti-social behaviours such as bullying, and if our judicial systems fail.

Minister Dillon, who apparently understood crime better than Minister Young was conceptually correct when he spoke of an “all of government” approach to solving crime.

However, it would appear that he never received the support of his Prime Minister or his cabinet colleagues to properly implement it.

“Last week, for example, DPP officials told a JSC that they were understaffed by some 74 vacancies which based on calculations is 58% of the staffing at the institution. How in heaven’s name can we reduce crime if there is a pile up of work at this important institution?” asks the Naparima MP.

How can we significantly reduce murders if the Forensic Science Centre is understaffed and under equipped resulting in a throughput rate of under 40% given global benchmarks?

A JSC was told yesterday that young males at the YTC are using off-site visits to smoke marijuana instead of pursuing their studies.

Where are the promised plans for the fence line communities, such as Marabella and Santa Flora, affected by the closure of Petrotrin?

“You cannot lay off 5000 workers resulting in a spin-off of over 9,000 unemployed in these southern communities and not expect an increase in poverty and its by-product crime in areas like Marabella, on the train line, and on Battoo Avenue,” says Rodney Charles.

“These are the unintended consequences of a not well thought out decision to close down the refinery.

Minister Young is clearly out of his depth, not realizing that you cannot talk your way out of a crime epidemic,” says MP Charles.

This is not a job for a salesman.

Christmas is on the horizon and the number of thefts and robberies are sure to increase.

Clearly, Minister Young may even be worse than his predecessor, Edmund Dillon. His lack of experience in managing the National Security portfolio is becoming clearer. Apart from hosting press conferences, what has he done? His portfolio of Minister of Communications clearly overshadows the extremely important one of National Security.

Will Dr Rowley continue to prop up the incompetent Ministers of his Government, such as Dennis Moses – also a Minister in the Ministry of National Security, who cannot deal with the most pressing issue of our soaring murder rate? Crime continues unabated and its negative impact is widespread, affects all levels of society, and is a disincentive for foreign direct investments and tourist arrivals.

The Government is incapable of formulating effective anti-crime initiatives at the”all of government” level. Youthful and inexperienced Minister Young must exercise mature judgment for once and resign.

Then and only then will he be a true patriot.

Rodney Charles

MP for Naparima