As Trinidad and Tobago battles a crime epidemic, the fact is none of the recently tabled pieces of legislation piloted by the Attorney General has been done with the aim of, or even possesses the potency to directly address the brutal acts of violence, murder and daily threats to the lives of our citizens. They have all been done as a Public Relation stint, masked with the rationale ” we fighting crime” as a mean to mislead the population into believing that the Government is actually addressing the situation or even knows how to address this growing crisis.
All of the arguments put forward by the Government that they have been tabling legislation such as the Removal of Preliminary Inquiries, Jury-Less Trials and creation of Plea Bargaining Process to protect citizens can be debunked by the simple question ” After these laws have been brought to Parliament, is our nation safer?” , which will be simply no.
Trinidad and Tobago is a nation in crisis facing a tsunami of criminal activities beyond levels as never seen before. Criminal Activity has had no boundaries in the past 17 months as it has brutalized and impacted every single demographic inclusive of students and the elderly. What is desired at this point is an all-out attack at crime from the basic, however Government has not displayed the political will, courage or fortitude to implement any direct measure which can allow the citizens comfort and peace of mind
The best approach to dealing with crime is one which deals with prevention and detection of perpetrators who break the law. This Government has failed to enact any single innovative measure which can target crime at its core which is eliminating the causes of criminal activity. This Government has neglected to deal with social issues which cause crime such as education, poverty eradication and mentoring for at risk youth, they have failed to implement new training measures for the protective forces , there has been no sign of prison reform as championed before to deal with repeat offenders.
It is clear that Government is bankrupt for ideas and strategies on how to protect our citizens as demonstrated by the Prime Minister’s response to identify one measure he had taken to address crime in February to which he answered “ensured the Protective services were paid their emoluments”
Government’s lack of sustainable ideas and measures to effectively curb crime and has resulted in “feel good” legislation as opposed to “feel safe” measures. It is time Government critically examine the real causes of crime coupled with enacting serious proactive measures which can protect our citizens.
The Opposition remains committed in the fight against crime but our support will be based on the rule of law and geared towards legislation which balances mutual respect for our constitutions and welfare of our citizens.
Dr. David Lee,
Chairman, United National Congress & Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre