“Despite Government’s boast about progress in the fight against crime, it has all come to naught as T&T is still on track to cross 500 murders for 2019 and even prison officers are feeling the wrath of criminal elements and demonstrating that we may well be headed for failed state status,” says Naparima MP Rodney Charles.
Up to August 18th 2018, there were 348 murders and with the murder of 37 year old Timothy Nathaniel from Sangre Grande on Sunday August 18th 2019, we have reached last year’s 348.
Last night’s shooting of the home of prison officer Olang Harris tells us that even national security personnel are at the mercy of criminal elements.
This shooting follows reports that criminals were targeting any two prison officers to demonstrate their power to the authorities and that in the last two decades, 19 prison officers have been killed, allegedly in hits called from inside our prisons.
This PNM regime is clueless on crime. They come up with endless legislation and PR crime fighting initiatives knowing full well that they will have no measurable impact on crime. With no workable crime plan, no crime solving solutions or targets set, it is evident that the PNM cannot do what the PP did between 2010 and 2014 – that is, bringing murders back down to the lowest it has been in a decade.
Citizens will continue to live in fear. Businesses will continue to spend untold sums on security. Homeowners will be forced to live in jail behind burglar proofing and security alarm systems. And our young men will continue to die, leaving behind parentless children and grieving mothers. The rest of us will be most grateful to not be victims to the criminal elements even as one calypsonian bemoans the fact that “Ah frighten to live”.
The Commissioner of Police has projected that the murders will decrease by ten per cent yearly for the next five years. While his efforts are commendable, he needs an all of government framework to achieve his goals.
He cannot win the war on crime if he has to wait 4 years for a ballistic report, or 15 years for a murder conviction, or months for legal assistance from an under resourced DPP office, or years upon years for our resourced starved judiciary to perform optimally.
After $14.2 billion spent in National Security since their term started in 2015, we are still left without cohesion amongst our various national security institutions.
To effectively fight crime our intelligence agencies and our law enforcement, forensic, judicial, rehabilitation and penal systems need to be working hand in hand. We need to ensure that criminals are caught using reliable information, the required evidence to convict is processed in order for their court case to proceed in a timely manner, our prisons are equipped to house them and there are programs in operation to rehabilitate and prevent a return to a life of crime.
Government must set measurable targets for among other things: police response times, crime detection rates, significantly reduced times for trials to start and finish, recidivism rates, and performance improvements for institutions like MYPART, CCC, MILAT, Police Youth Clubs, Cadets, 4H Clubs, and Boys Scout. These latter bodies will reduce the attractiveness which gang leaders present to at risk inner city males.
Once measurable targets are set, the next stage is to determine and provide the human, financial and other resources needed to achieve these targets and hold those accountable for the achievements of these targets.
Prime Minister Rowley and his Minister of National Security have failed in their prime responsibility to protect our citizens.
It is time for both PM Rowley and Minister Young to do the honourable and patriotic thing and call elections now so that citizens can pronounce on this Government’s shameful and disgraceful record on crime.
We simply cannot take another year of Minister Young’s stewardship.