In the face of this country’s disturbingly high homicide rate, the attendant violence and general state of lawlessness, today’s meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister to treat with crime, is a positive step in the interest of our nation.
Based on post-meeting statements by the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet, the T&T Chamber acknowledges the fact that there was no attempt to create a false sense of hope for the population by instituting any immediate “knee-jerk” measures that merely serve to scratch the surface of a deeper challenge. Instead, the decision to take the fight to the Parliament, by passing appropriate and targeted anti-crime legislation with the support of the Opposition, is one that resonates positively with the business community, as it aims to target long term solutions through new and/or amended laws.
The T&T Chamber warns against any form of complacency as it is evident that the current scourge warrants urgency and dispatch in thought and action by those charged with the responsibility to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens.
In this regard, we renew the call for the urgent appointment of a Commissioner of Police. This situation has now become wholly untenable, given the extended period during which the relevant authority has failed to fill this critical position.
The proposed strategy of stripping criminals of their unlawful gains through the proceeds of crime legislation is also worthy of being pursued. It stands to reason, however, that all relevant units with direct responsibility for detection and conviction must be more than adequately resourced in the sphere of human, technical and financial support, to meet the challenge.
As outlined today, the move to appoint an Independent Senator to chair the Joint Select Committee on crime comprising Government, Opposition and Independents, can serve only to further reduce the likelihood of any attempt to politicize the prevailing crisis.
It is our view that the pledge by the Government and the Opposition to work together towards reducing the high crime level will lead to some measure of confidence and cooperation among the population.
The T&T Chamber looks forward to tangible results from today’s meeting, noting that our country is weighed down and weary from the devastating effects of crime.
- Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce