During the I am Legend concert on Sunday, Buju Banton poignantly asked, “What is going on in Trinidad? All this murder. Not just regular murder but butcher shop murder.”
This in reference to the crime epidemic and the increasingly gruesome murders prevalent in T&T, with nine of these murders occurring over the Easter weekend.
MP for Naparima Rodney Charles has an answer to Buju Banton:
“The problem is that we are currently under the governance of a Rowley led administration that is clueless, inept and cannot take responsibility for events that are under their purview. Instead they constantly pass both blame and responsibility onto others. They have no idea how to even begin to get a handle on crime,” says Charles.
The PNM has adopted a “head in the sand”, ostrich-like approach to any serious criminal eventuality.
There are reports that hundreds of members of the Venezuelan Evande gang have infiltrated various areas within T&T.
When asked about the presence of Venezuelan gangs in T&T, they avoid the issue and state that they are monitoring Venezuelans who enter both legally and illegally. However, they cannot even say how many are being investigated for association with gangs.
We have the highest number of ISIS fighters per capita in the western hemisphere, yet the Government remains oblivious as to how many of our citizens, who fought for or supported ISIS, remain abroad and how many have returned to T&T.
We have no idea whether those who have returned are being properly monitored.
Over the weekend ISIS was identified as the mastermind behind the bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka which resulted in the deaths of over 300 people. What precautionary measures has the Government put in place to monitor ISIS fighters in T&T to ensure that similar events do not take place here? Have they even considered it? Do they think that it is not an urgent issue?
At the beginning of April, the US issued an updated travel advisory for Trinidad and Tobago which states, “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.”
They clearly do not comprehend what is meant by an all of Government approach.
You cannot fire 5000 workers from Petrotrin and not anticipate an increase in crime in Point-a-Pierre and Marabella. You cannot have a non-functioning Coast Guard and expect our borders to be secure. You cannot have a DPP office that is more than 50% understaffed and bring legislation to tackle the criminal elements when the systems cannot efficiently accommodate them.
Instead of addressing key national security concerns and issues such as these and taking a holistic approach to crime fighting, the Ministry of National Security has been more concerned with publicising the fact that they granted Buju approval to perform in T&T.
When a Minister of Communication is appointed as the Minister of National Security, it is no surprise that public relations, press conferences and empty words prevail over substantial crime fighting measures and plans.