The issue of crime …ROWLEY WILL SINK OR SWIM

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The escalation in crime shows no sign of abating; its enormity is shocking and chilling and is getting worst daily.

As Opposition Leader, Keith Rowley is on record as saying “the people of this nation need to feel secure and the PNM is committed to rolling back crime.”

It was Dr Rowley who termed the 2011 State of Emergency as “yet another attempt by the Government to find a justification for what they had done”.

In fact, the lowest annual murder toll for the previous five years was 2011 (354) because of the PNM maligned three-month-long SoE.

Dr Rowley used whatever upsurge in crime there was as a political opportunity to get back in office and now Prime Minister, the country is unfortunately coming to the realization the PNM cannot turn around this situation because of the its continued facilitation of criminal activity, its abysmal record in dealing with crime, past PNM collusion with criminals and the fact Rowley never articulated a functional and workable plan to reduce crime. They appear totally clueless on crime.

Wasn’t it Dr Rowley who pontificated in 2012 “…if the Gov’t can’t deal with it (crime) then the Gov’t itself is part of the problem;” is he now willing to accept his own pronouncements?

The abysmal PNM track record on murders makes for depressing reading: between 2002-2010 when Patrick Manning demitted office there were 3,353 murders – averaging 479 annually, peaking at 550 in 2008 and averaging 1.31 daily for seven years.

Kidnappings during the same period reached 359, peaking at 155 in 2007, the year the Manning administration won re-election. Yet Rowley boasts that the last PNM Administration was able to reduce crime. Where is the quantitative data to support his assertion?

By contrast, the Persad-Bissessar Administration did not only reduce kidnappings to zero, but reduced the rate of serious crimes by more than 40%.

Again, another PNM Administration and from September 2015 to December 16, 2016; there have been 562 murders! Add some of those now classified as missing for months and the figure may exceed 650. Nine T&T citizens left our shores en-route to Syria and the Government intelligence services were non the wiser until advised by Turkish authorities.

What we are witnessing today is also very significant; statistics show a true political tragedy that successive PNM administrations have always demonstrated an inability to fix the crime problem… whenever the PNM is in office crime, especially murders, rises exponentially.

Crime is a PNM problem.

The PNM created a large under-educated, disenfranchised and unemployed underclass as manipulative political pawns for their winning elections. What do you expect?

What is worrisome is the mixed signals coming from Rowley, and the three National Security Ministers – Dillon, Moses and Jennings; it is as though they believe they do not have a primary responsibility for confronting escalating crime in the country. Do not politicize crime, they say as if it is not the government’s main responsibility to assure the safety of the citizenry.

Their non-actions do not constitute leadership.

The unfortunate reality is the country has lost faith in this 15-month-plus, Rowley-led Government’s capacity to solve our escalating crime problems.

Crime is at the root of many of our problems. Tourism is put forward as critical to our economic diversification thrust. But tourism cannot reach its full potential when advisories in Canada, US, Japan and Europe continuously warn their citizens about the dangers to life and limb if they were to visit our shores.

This Rowley-led administration will sink or swim depending on its ability to deal with our crime problems.

Capil Bissoon

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