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Time to regain control of T&T

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Maybe it is because of the efficiency of transmission of social media or maybe it is because it has become so glaring and boldfaced but it is now a widely held view that our country is in the midst of a crime pandemic.

The pictures of victims, their funeral services and the anguished cries of relatives are as common as the meaningless pronouncements that are being made about the collapse of even the most basic law and order.

“This was a hit”…, “The victim was known to us” …“We suspect that this was a reprisal for a murder last week…and we are bracing for further reprisals” … is, in our view a parade of failure and hopelessness.

Among many others, the combination of the murder of an Uber driver and a manager at McDonald’s and the trite comments of the authorities, including at several agencies of the Government, is sending a message of great fear and panic throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Combined with the images of buffet dinners in the prisons, the prevalence of gruesome crimes is giving rise to the question being asked on the streets of Port-of-Spain—have criminals taken over our country?

This Government did not create this problem but they are obligated to convey that they recognise that we have a very serious problem.

The preponderance of official announcements that have nothing to do with the current crime spree is creating a sense of terror that is affecting our way of life, destroying confidence, disrupting recreation and entertainment industries, challenging night-time and daytime business operators and placing a blockade on tourism that will outlast any future success in stemming this current record of murders and robberies.

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service have added to the anxiety by making statements at every turn that shows a total disconnect from the reality that citizens are facing—“Anti-Gang legislation is not a magic solution to crime” and “we need the public’s support and cooperation to fight crime”—have become pronouncements of futility and weakness, faith in the trustworthiness of the TTPS is badly damaged and cannot be restored with announcements. Faith must be restored with trustworthy actions. In a place where we still do not know how guns and grenades got into our prison, resulting in the death of a police officer, in whom can we trust to make a report?

We wish to advise of our concerns that the situation in our country in the past several months is verging on a new level of desperation for a majority of our citizens.

A preponderance of distractions that are unrelated to matters of life and death are scorching the very earth on which we stand, creating suspicions and insinuations among each other, destroying the confidence to leave our homes, ruining the image of our country and creating a legacy of greed, corruption and death that will linger for decades to come.

The time has come to recognise the problem and regain control of our public domain. There is a desperate need for visibility and command and this should include deployment of the Defence Force whose presence continues to have the public’s respect.

The risk to our way of life, to our trust in authority and to the future of our country is too great for any further displays of disconnect and distractions. The people of Trinidad and Tobago are more than able to understand the increasing danger that is engulfing us and it is time to restore faith where there is doubt and to instil hope where there is utter despair.



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