“Attorney General Al Rawi, more and more legislation will merely clog our systems and institutions, overwhelm our DPP office, strain our under resourced and understaffed Forensic Science Centre, overload our judiciary, overcrowd our prisons making them non-functional and have no measurable impact on crime,” says Naparima MP Rodney Charles.
This misguided belief in passing more and more laws to solve our crime situation makes no sense.
It merely gives false hopes to our demoralized nation.
Time and time again AG Al Rawi has placed his faith in a suite of legislation to solve our crime problems, ignoring the fact that he is not dealing with the root problem.
For years now we have told this PNM administration that they cannot solve crime with an unaccredited and under resourced Forensics Science Centre; or a more than 50% understaffed DPP office; or a judiciary that operates at a snail’s pace; or our severely overcrowded prisons; or with an undetermined number of Venezuelan criminals operating under the radar, or with our porous border situation, or a Coast Guard that cannot even protect our fishermen at Carli Bay.
Passing laws without being able to execute them efficiently is like putting a jet engine on a donkey cart used to travelling on pothole filled roads.
It simply will not work.
If we arrest more and more persons, assuming we can catch them in the first place, will this not over burden our judicial system which will now see convictions after twenty years?
We are calling on the AG to recognize that he is misguided in his zeal to pass legislation merely to give the appearance that the Government is serious about crime.
We saw it with the Anti Gang Legislation, and with the amendments to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Proceeds of Crime, Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, Customs and Exchange Control Acts, and recently with the Anti-Terrorism Act.
All of which have produced no measurable impact on crime since the subsidiary apparatus and systems needed to operationalise these laws are either not in effect, inefficient or severely under-resourced.
AG Al Rawi thinks passing new legislation will give the impression that they are solving crime, distracting the population into thinking they are on top of the crime situation. But rushing to pass new legislation is not the answer. The Government needs to focus on enforcing the existing laws and setting measurable targets on crime detection rates, police response times, recidivism, trials before the courts, reducing murders and shortening times spent in remand.
We simply cannot continue pouring new wine into old bottles.
The murder rate is currently at 298, the DPP office is over 50 percent understaffed and the Forensic Science Centre is still underequipped, lacking staff to meet current needs, far less those that will be required to process newly apprehended criminals due to proposed legislation being contemplated.
This incompetent PNM administration and inexperienced AG both need to wake up from the delusion that crime will be solved by passing a suite of legislation. AG Al Rawi cannot fool the population of TT anymore with fancy talk and delusional promises. These are merely excuses for taking decisive action.
More and more legislation will not solve our crime problem.