Dr Rowley has spent much of his first year as Prime Minister distancing himself and his Government from the job for which they campaigned so vigorously to reduce crime, create jobs, diversify the economy and increase foreign exchange earnings.
“He has alternated between blaming Kamla Persad- Bissessar and telling the population not to depend on the Government. It is always an exercise in shifting blame or responsibility, which can only mean, he is woefully unprepared and ill-equipped for the job he now holds” MP Rodney Charles stated.
As Opposition Leader, Dr Rowley stated categorically that the Prime Minister as the head of Government is ultimately responsible for dealing with the issues plaguing the country. During a debate on the Bail Amendment in 2014 he said referring to the People’s Partnership administration “It is not maths, and it serves no purpose to come and tell me what the previous government did. They held themselves out as having solutions to this problem. They come and they are in the job now.”
With murders set to cross 400 this year, a return of kidnappings, bodies washing ashore on a regular basis, it is safe to say there is scourge of criminality wreaking havoc on this nation. And what is the Government doing? Blaming everyone else.
“It is a bad manager that blames everyone else,” MP Charles stated “as they have said before the PNM is in charge now, you cannot want the power but none of the responsibility.”
The PNM’s sole solution to crime has been intelligence gathering, and they used this as the nexus for their seemingly obsessive pursuit to increase Government’s power without the necessary checks and balances. In this fiscal 2017 budget we told of $117million dollars being allocated for spy equipment, however, throughout the budget debate, no Government official saw it fit to account for the money already spent.
“Despite all this focus on intelligence gathering, we seem to have remarkably little information about our citizens who are still detained in Turkey” Our intelligence services cannot at this stage determine who they are or whether they came from Rio Claro or Sangre Grande? Charles asked.
Nine citizens have left our shores and we are clueless?
“They seem to be under the impression that money can be thrown at a problem and it will either solve itself or they will blame someone else.” Charles went on to note that Government is still unable to tell us, according to credible data, how many police officers would be an optimal number, or how they propose to improve the detection and conviction rate, or if our issue is the number of police or the quality of the training.
We are told that we have 6,700 police officers for our population of 1.3 million which works out to approximately 52 law enforcement officers per 10,000 citizens. By comparison Chicago has only 44 per 10,000, Miami has 25, and New York has 43.
The MP for Naparima went on to note, “The Government has not presented any data to justify how they are allocating money, because clearly they have no plan so it must follow that they have no data, you do not need data when you govern by vaps.”
The Government needs to acknowledge that they are ultimately responsible for finding a way to stem our crime problem. Dr. Rowley the time has come for you to accept that you are responsible for the poor performance of your Government. The lack of direction, management and effective policy rest on your shoulders because you offered yourself up for the job claiming you had the solutions.
No amount of vacillating, waffling and blaming will change the fact that our country is seeing right now that the PNM never had a solution to the crime problem. We are facing the consequences of being burdened with a Government which may be red but certainly is not ready.