It is clear that the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security, and the Commissioner of Police seem to be clueless about the escalating murder and crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago.
What this country needs is a Randolph Burroughs-type unit to deal with the bad boys who are giving this country a bad name and instilling fear into law abiding citizens.
Once this unit operates within the law, the country will support it. Burroughs and the dreaded Flying Squad were responsible in dealing with the criminal elements in the 1970s and the 1980s. His style made people safe. That is what is needed today. Someone who would bring sanity back to the land.
As head of the National Security Council, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has no idea what to do and when he speaks, he is misinformed. Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon, sits in his office, unaware of what is happening.
As a former Chief of Defence Staff, Dillon must be embarrassed knowing that soldiers may have carried out last Wednesday’s $5.5 million robbery at Piarco International Airport.
Remember Dillon was in charge of the military when soldiers were responsible for kidnappings in Trinidad between 2004 and 2006.
Dillon was clueless as to the involvement of this own men in this crime.
Poor Stephen Williams, who has been acting as Commissioner of Police for the last five years, has done very little to bring comfort to the citizens.
What is clear is that Attorney General Faris Al Rawi revealed there are more than 2,800 gang members operating in the country. So how come, those responsible have not been able to target these gang members?
Look at what happened on Thursday. Mere hours after a joint police and army exercise to remove illegal occupants of the Clifton Towers once again, they returned to the apartments. These people have no regard for the law.
According to residents, the exercise was the fifth or sixth such effort to evict the persons who have occupied several apartments without authorization from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).
Last month, police detained 15 people, including an elderly woman, who had been living rent-free and without permission in the East Port of Spain units.
They were charged and promptly returned to the apartments.
Police re-arrested four persons on Thursday.
Rowley described the United National Congress’ (UNC) stance as a cynical and wicked attack on national security.
He added, “I will tell you something, more people will die as a result of the action of the UNC this morning. We appealed to them, if what we do stops only one gang leader or saves one life, they have virtually told us all to go to hell.
“It is the UNC’s strategy, as discussed and agreed to, that the crime and criminality is largely in PNM constituencies and therefore it ought to be left like a cancer to fester, because their constituencies are largely safe. I did not believe that until I saw it this morning.”
Rowley said there was no reason for the Opposition’s objection to the bill, as Government made several amendments to different features pertaining to arrest warrants, sedition and the inclusion of a sunset clause in response to issues raised by the Opposition.
Rowley stated, “For some inexplicable reason, our colleagues in the Parliament found it difficult or impossible to provide the necessary support for the bill’s passing.
“Even as we were in the process of attempting to create this law last night, news came to us of the robbery at Piarco Airport done by a number of persons which we suspect might be a gang, because the law says two or more persons acting in concert qualifies as the definition of a gang. Even as the Parliament was seeking to make illegal such enterprises, that and all could not assist us.”
Citing the failure of the previous anti-gang legislation to secure evidence and subsequent convictions during the 2011 State of Emergency, Rowley said the five-year period would be sufficient to establish and build evidence against suspected gang members.
Despite the failure to pass the bill, Rowley said Government remains committed to tackling rampant crime and said the experience has forced it to redouble its efforts in the fight against crime. He said it is Government’s intention is to return to Parliament in another attempt to pass the anti-gang bill.
He added, “We will continue. We remain resolute to ensure that sometime, somehow this government will have to make gang activities illegal, because the gangs are not going to volunteer any respect to us.”
Government needed a three-fifths majority to pass the legislation.
Government received 21 votes, 12 Opposition members voted against, while St Augustine MP, Praskash Ramadhar, abstained.