The United National Congress is knocking the Rowley Government’s newly minted National Crime Prevention Plan, which is nothing more than yet another PR stunt aimed at placating and misleading the people of this country.
Today, Minister Stuart Young and his comrades regaled us with another expensive, visionless, vacuous PNM crime plan with no fixed performance targets, a plethora of platitudes, replete with a list of crime fighting projections ostensibly to buy time and hoodwink us into believing that this clueless, non-performing and profligate Government is somehow, three years into their term, capable of dealing with crime.
Notably, the Prime Minister failed to even show up for today’s launch – perhaps he also has no confidence in this new approach.
The criminals that are holding this country to siege are very much aware that only decisive action such as getting rid of rogue police, protecting our borders, speeding up court trials, improving crime detection rates and providing alternatives for “at risk” inner city youth will put a dent in crime.
To deter our criminals these actions must be circumscribed with well-publicized quantifiable performance targets. What we need to hear is that action X, for example increasing naval patrols and closing our borders, will lead to a 10 percent reduction in guns and murders; or that the 100 municipal police in regional corporations will result in a 25 percent reduction in home invasions; or that speedier trials will result in a 15 percent reduction in prison overcrowding.
That is how crime plans are developed in first world countries like Singapore.
Instead today we were furnished with yet another list of “militaristic” activities, dressed up as a crime plan.
We were told 5 years ago that the PNM, while in Opposition, had developed a crime plan, and that once elected we would see that brilliant plan in action. We were told further and did verily believe, that the 10-point crime plan was our solution. We were further informed, budget after budget, that crime was a priority and they had the solution.
Where are we today with 305 murders and headed for a national record under clueless Edmund Dillon and an ineffective Prime Minister, and two other National Security Ministers?
Why are we to believe that this well-orchestrated, expensive PR charade is not another attempt to hoodwink us?
What new has been said today that we did not hear before? The all of government approach, the municipal police, the fact that crime involves all of us, the fact that there will be joint patrols? What is new?
We were informed with a straight PNM face that the passing of a host of legislative remedies would deal effectively with crime. They lied. The Anti-Gang Legislation was the panacea, they said. The “all of government” approach was the solution. The SSA legislation was integral to solving crime. Appointing a Commissioner of Police would miraculously solve crime.
All have failed.
And today we are led to believe that this re-hashed “all of government” approach is the solution.
This Rowley administration must respectfully engage the Opposition in meaningful dialogue that would eliminate rogue police officers, appoint a COP, reduce recidivism and overcrowding in our prisons, reinforce family structures and provide alternatives for at-risk inner-city youth, increase employment, reduce poverty and place our police service with strict performance targets relative to crime detection, response time and murder reduction rates.
Let us talk. The Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar has, on multiple occasions called for this, but to no avail. This “harden” administration will take no advice even as the country suffers.
The Opposition will not be part of a PR stunt to once again hoodwink our population. In the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we are willing to engage in discussion on meaningful crime reduction strategies. The time is long past for “ole talk”, platitudes and PR activities that do nothing to curb crime and reduce the epidemic of murders.