“Instead of presenting the country with a clear and viable plan to fight the criminal elements, and protect citizens and visitors, National Security Minister Dillon has resorted to statistical fraud, obfuscation and manipulation.” So said Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP, following the Opposition’s Motion of No Confidence in the Minister of National Security in the House of Representatives on Friday 22nd June 2018.
It is clear that this Government has no clue how to solve the crime crisis in Trinidad and Tobago, and this was highlighted by the presentations by Government Ministers Stuart Young and Edmund Dillon in the Parliament, which were intended to be scandalous distract and mislead.
Minister Dillon became visibly agitated and almost hysterical in trying to rebut my statement regarding the UNC’s successful record in fighting crime during the term of Government which I led.
While people are being slaughtered on our streets, in their homes, and even at their places of work, the Minister once again failed to provide any measure of comfort to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
In two years and nine months of this Rowley-led Government, they have produced nothing, and only managed to make the lives of citizens harder.
In my contribution to the Motion of No Confidence in the Minister of National Security, I outlined several examples of Minister Dillon’s failure to deal with his main role and function – ensuring the safety and security of our citizens.
Under Minister Dillon the criminal elements have prospered and attacks upon our citizens and their property have become more brazen and brutish. Under this Minister of National Security homes have been turned into prisons, business places have been turned into hunting grounds and our communities have been transformed into killing fields.
I was disappointed then, that instead of accounting to the people for his abysmal failure, Minister Dillon sought to deflect by referring to statistics for serious crimes for specific years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
By focusing on these years, the Minister deliberately tried to give a skewed view of the issue and shows the level of desperation of this PNM Government.
Instead of presenting the country with a clear and viable plan to fight the criminal elements, and protect citizens and visitors, Minister Dillon resorted to statistical fraud, obfuscation and manipulation.
The facts are that under my leadership, the number of serious crimes fell to the lowest in 33 years. The attached table shows that in 2015 when my Government demitted office, the total number of serious crimes reported was 11,135 the lowest it has been since 1982. The numbers also show that we managed to reduce serious crimes by 50 percent since 2009 which was the last full year the PNM was in Government. The number of murders also fell under my Government.
By comparison, the same statistics also show that serious crimes has increased since the PNM has come into office. We note as well that the number of persons being murdered is also growing.
As I stated in my contribution to the Motion of No Confidence in the Minister of National Security, there was a steady decline in serious crime under my watch because of the initiatives we implemented, including:
· The Rapid response unit
· Community comfort patrols
· The establishment of a National Operations Centre which served as a backbone for intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing for collaboration within law enforcement agencies.
· The re-launch of the E999 so that the population of Trinidad and Tobago had a powerful tool when reporting crimes.
· The Inter-Agency Joint Patrols between the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force to have a greater presence on the ground to act as a deterrent.
· The establishment of a Counter Human Trafficking Unit.
· A one-thousand-dollar special allowance for each law enforcement officer.
· Construction of modern Police Stations:
o La Brea
· The establishment of the National Security Training Academy which encompassed all Law Enforcement agencies and provides the type of training common to these agencies.
· Trained several batches of Crime Scene Investigators to supplement the Homicide Investigations Bureau of the TTPS.
· Equipped Trinidad and Tobago Police Service vehicles with GPS Technology, in an effort to improve police response to calls for service.
· Acquired 12 vessels – Coastal Patrol Vessels and Utility vessels for the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard.
The Government I led was able to bring serious crime down to the lowest in more than three decades, and no amount of manipulating of statistics by Minister Dillon will change that fact. We were able to cut serious crime in HALF using the same Police Service, the same Acting Commissioner of Police, the same Defence Force and Coast Guard, the same infrastructure which Minister Dillon has inherited.
But instead of continuing crime reduction, the facts are that crime is growing under Minister Dillon’s management.
The party I lead, the United National Congress has a proven track record in fighting crime, and the safety and security of all citizens remains our number one priority. We will ensure that mechanisms are put in place to restore a safe and secure environment for our people when we return to Government.
The people are fed up of this Rowley-led Government’s incompetence, their uncaring attitude and their lack of vision, and the country is ready to vote them out over their failure to address the crime crisis.
We call on the Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon to do the responsible thing and resign, and if this is not done, we call upon the Prime Minister to immediately fire this failed Minister.