Trinidad and Tobago has already recorded 43 murders for the first 25 days of the year. If this alarming rate continues, the country could see as many as 628 murders in 2017, significantly higher than the previous record of 550 in 2008 under a PNM administration.
The Rowley-led government needs to come up, not with a list of crime reducing measures as is their habit, but with specially targeted and quantifiable measures aimed at reducing the incidence, pervasiveness, and geographic spread crime.
The murder of eighteen year old Tryone Fortune, which was reported as “casualty” of gang violence, exposes the fact that Government is unprepared to effectively deal with gang warfare in this country.
The intelligence gathering on local gangs through specific infiltration and monitoring of gang activities appears to be totally inadequate, and raises, once again, questions about the effectiveness of the Strategic Services Agency, which was hastily pushed through by the Rowley-led government.
Last week alleged gang leaders were murdered outside of a police station in St Joseph; and the week before two brothers were murdered at their La Pena Street home, as a result of an ongoing turf war between rival gangs, according to media reports.
Do the police have intelligence on these two gangs poised as they are for reprisal actions? In fact, do the authorities have intelligence on any of the gangs operating in the country, and a strategy to reduce criminal activity?
According to the United Nations Information Service, Trinidad and Tobago continues to rank among the top ten countries with most the most homicides per capita. The ongoing and increasing gang violence would only exacerbate this already tenuous situation, and the impact would only be compounded as the Government continues to flounder instead of delivering on their mandate to keep our citizens safe.
It is time for decisive action; we have gone beyond the point of “ole talk”, pointless public relations campaigns and idle threats against perpetrators of crime by those in authority. If we continue on this track, Trinidad and Tobago is set to become the murder capital of the world.
MP for Naparima
January 25, 2017