As we grow accustom to the daily news of assassination, executions, home invasions and violent crimes, we asinformed citizens living in the 21st century recognize and in some cases accept the consequences of the politics in a two party democracy.
We have learned to tolerate or turn a blind eye to the conduct of our politicians in Parliament and no longer expect their behavior to be an example to the youths and by extension the population at large.
Our partisan affiliation to the players in the Political Arena guides us to the position where we arrive at a place that legitimizes the posture that the Opposition is to oppose and the ruling party blames the opposition for the lack of progress on matters of State.
Certain developments though, forcefully highlight the fact that rather than blame the Politicians on issues affecting our lives daily that we should really look inward and possibly come to the realization that we are really the ones to blame because of our partisan loyalties.
However, when we as a country are deliberately deceived in pursuit of a calculated Political Agenda there is no way we can blame ourselves. On a daily basis crime is a talking point in this Country and we as a family living in Trinidad and Tobago expect that our elected Government at least appear to have the interest of the population especially as it relates to security as a priority.
Over the years our family of Trinbagonians has been under siege. The family has become accustomed to daily executions and assassination.The family was forced to accept this by convincing themselves that “is certain people in certain areas that dis ting happenin to”.
Within recent times though the family has seen a very worrying development in criminal activity. This development has seen teachers being robbed of their vehicles while on the school compound, religious buildings being burglarized, a soup kitchen In Princes Town burglarized, people being attacked while asleep during home invasions.
The recent increase in home invasions, burglaries and carjackings has prompted the TTPS to advise female drivers to be extra cautious when entering their homes in addition more recently to advising that homeowners install alarm systems. This is sound advice from the TTPS and we appreciate their concern and efforts in the fight against the avalanche of criminal activity being experienced within recent times.
In any developing society the local constabulary will experience challenges in the fight against crime given the ever changing nature of the criminal elements and factors. In fact the gap between the expectations of the Citizens and the deliverables of the TTPS is usually filled by the Private Security Sector.
History will record the last administration of utilizing the presence of the Private Security Sector by formalizing a relationship with the Ministry Of National Security resulting in the implementation of the highly effective and successful Community Comfort Patrol.
The presence of this Patrol in residential areas which was intended to be a crime prevention initiative also, by virtue of the constant presence in the neighborhoods performed the functions of first responders to the needs of the various communities. There was the highly publicized birth of a baby in a patrol car, the rescuing of an elderly woman from a house that was in fire in Chaguanas, the emotional letter to the editor of a 12 year old in Avocat lamenting the closure of the CCP program etc.
Upon the closure of the CCP program there were numerous testimonials speaking to the effectiveness of the patrols at schools, health centers and in fact there was even a petition that amassed 11,000 signatures.
Given the successes of the patrol one can easily understand the conversation that is taking place now especially among the citizens who once benefited from the patrols that are now living under siege as to the possibilities of the reintroduction of the CCP given the improvement in the Economy as articulated by the Minister of Finance.
This conversation among scared citizens is, however, taking place in a third world, two party democratic country. Where we have grown accustomed to anything the last administration did was wrong and corrupt.
In pursuit of this opinion an examination of the Hansard Records of The House of Representatives dated April 13 gives a stark example of deception in pursuit of a Political Agenda regrettably and sadly with the citizens being yet again the victims. Happily, in this regard a non violent attack but with the potential to expose each and every citizen to home invasions, carjackings and the like.
During the debate on April 13 the Honorable Minister of Health advised the House and the population that the cost of the CCP was $120 million a year and he further clarified that it was $20 million a month. Although the numbers are mathematically inconsistent that seems to be a reasonable price to alleviate the concerns of the citizens who are scared and apprehensive while sleeping at night.
However, he also advised the House that the numbers quoted were only for the rental of vehicles indicative of the need of this current administration to highlight the corrupt activities of the last administration.
In consideration of the fact that the cost of the CCP was $5million per month Vat inclusive with a monthly wage bill of $2million dollars as a result of engaging the services of 400 employees. In addition from Primary school to Parliament all participants in a debate research their respective topics. Is it in this case that research was not done therefore leading to the public being misinformed by the Honorable Minister?. In an attempt not to be judgmental we can assume he was not prepared.
Disappointingly though, the same Hansard record quotes the Honorable Attorney General as advising the Honorable Minister of Health while he was on his legs that the CCP officers had no powers if arrest therefore suggesting that the program was nonsensical.
Again given the state of crime in our country we stained our history with two very unfortunate incidents recently. The vigilante justice displayed in Oropune and the Vicious domestic violence attack in the Car Park of a Mall in Marabella.
Subsequent to those unfortunate occurrences the rights of the citizens as it pertains to Citizens Arrest were communicated to all and sundry by these in authority including the Honorable Attorney General. To assume he was misinformed during the debate is challenging to say the least.
A more palatable conclusion is that both Honorable Gentlemen pursued and delivered their Party’s agenda successfully with dedication and loyalty at the expense of the truth.
Thereby leaving citizens holding the wrong end of the stick and very defenseless.