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Activist: Comments on crime ‘unbalanced’

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Social activist Hazel Brown has branded Finance Minister Larry Howai’s comments on crime in yesterday’s budget as “unbalanced and inappropriate,” especially in light of his statement about Government delivering a gender-sensitive budget. “He basically said ‘you all have everything you want and you choose to commit crime’ and that is completely inadequate, especially when you think of domestic violence and the abuse of women and girls. Is that not a crime?” she asked. Discussing his allocation to National Security, Howai said: “The unemployment rate remains near to what economists call the ‘natural rate’ of unemployment. “To put it simply, there are sustainable jobs for those who wish to engage in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and this is supported by the number of businesses of varying sizes which have complained consistently that they are unable to staff sufficiently their operations throughout T&T. “In essence, the problems witnessed in the recent upsurge in crime are created by those who have made deliberate life decisions to reject society’s offerings and instead fall into a life of crime.”



Brown commented: “He has ignored all of the social issues with that approach. He is telling people that they are responsible and we are not and that kind of thinking has us in this crime situation we are in. “We are all responsible. Don’t tell me you are spending a significant amount of money on crime. “How can you talk about dealing with crime when people still can’t read? Where is the analysis of the impact of what Government is doing?” She questioned Government’s distribution of laptops to students and asked whether the ministry or the Government had given an analysis of the results of free laptops. “I expected more in terms of analysis,” she added. Browne slammed Howai for stating that the removal of Value Added Tax (Vat) on food items was a success. “That was an absolute failure. All of the prices went up higher than the 15 per cent. Did they do an analysis of what happened to the prices after budget?” she asked. She described the entire budget presentation as a “long narrative without any substantial analysis.” KC


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