Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Nyan Gadsby Dolly came under fire from Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath for her recent comments on the travel advisories warning foreign nationals about the perils of traveling to Trinidad and Tobago as it relates to the high levels of crime and murder.
Padarath indicated that Gadsby Dolly’s comment “I do not think Trinidad and Tobago is any less safe than anywhere else in the world and any precautions that anyone else would take in a big city, they would take in Trinidad and Tobago”, demonstrates that the Minister and the government is out of touch with the reality of how Trinidad and Tobago is seen by the outside world and the reality that exist in the country as it relates to crime as compared to other parts of the world.
The Princes Town MP stated that while January 2018 continues to be the bloodiest in our nation’s history, the Minister did not address the issues identified in the advisory and instead attempted to give the impression that nothing outside of the norm was happening here at home in relation to crime. Padarath indicated that the big cities the Minister spoke of such as New York, had less than two hundred murders than Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 while they had a much higher population than ours. He added that in 2017, the largest city in the United States of America has a record of 290 murders while Trinidad and Tobago has 495.
The Princes Town MP called on the Minister and the government to indicate what steps are being taken to ensure tourist safety while in Trinidad and Tobago and to address frontally the issues identified in the travel advisories instead of burying its head in the sand.
Padarath added that in 2017 Trinidad and Tobago found itself in the top ten countries of the world, with the highest homicide rate and that many other countries were looking on at this and were fearful for their citizen’s safety. The MP indicated that the statistics have shown that since assuming office the PNM led Rowley government has reigned over an upsurge in homicides, murders and serious crime. He added that the Culture Minister’s statement makes absolutely no sense, since here in Trinidad and Tobago both locals and foreigners have to be increasingly vigilant of not random robberies or petty thefts but rather from being killed.
The Princes Town MP has called for a full comprehensive statement from the government addressing the issue of the travel advisories against Trinidad and Tobago, with the view of providing a sense of reassurance through actionable plans to make tourist feel safer when visiting. He also called on the Minister of Culture to acknowledge that the crime situation, especially murders, was affecting tourism not only for carnival but all year through and not to trivialize the situation.
The MP stated that a big part of the problem in dealing with serious crime and murders was evident in the Minister’s comment and that is the government does not have the political will to acknowledge that crime has crippled our society neither do they have the political will to do something about it .