The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce has told the government that the country is in a “crisis of crime,” and does not have the “luxury of time.”
In a statement issued yesterday, it suggested that among other things that the government should seek international expertise to assist and that a crime crisis team be set up to review the deployment fo all security resources in the country.
The Chamber suggested that closer to home the government should seek assistance from its CARICOM partners who have been successful in dealing with similar “crime upsurges.”
There have already been 26 murders in the first 20 days of the year.
The Chamber noted that National Security Minister Stuart Young “in his leadership role must acknowledge that we are not just in a difficult situation but in fact in a crisis regarding crime – and we do not have the luxury of time to deal with it.”
According to the Chamber “the present state of affairs dictates that urgent action must be taken now.”
It noted that despite the best efforts the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), “does not by itself have the capacity to deal with the crime situation, and other arms of the security infrastructure must be mobilised.”
The Chamber, responding to Young’s statements, said “we recognise the Minister’s reference to technology in the fight against crime and endorse this. We fully support a strong presence of security forces in high-crime areas.”
According to the release, the Chamber is looking forward to meeting with Minister Young as soon as possible, given his stated intention to meet with chambers of commerce and other stakeholders.
In an effort to fight crime and even prior to any discussion with the Minister the chamber has provided what it believes could be initiatives which can help in the fight against crime. These include the use of the Defence Force to work with the police.
The Chamber is also suggesting that a list of the country’s most wanted criminals be published and circulated in the media.
It also suggested the implementation of a “crime crisis team reviewing the deployment of all the Security resources of the country.”
According to the Chamber, the government should also “seek assistance from our CARICOM partners who have successfully reduced similar crime upsurges in their own country.”
It was also of the view that help should be sought from “international experts who can be brought in to support the crime-fighting effort.”
It suggested the need for increased communication to the public about crime-fighting strategies, “with metrics that show their success/failure to improve national confidence.”
In addition, the Chamber also asked the government to ensure “that the technology infrastructure, (drones, air support, digital fingerprinting, the CCTV cameras with facial recognition, the National operations Centre etc) are fully operational and utilised.”
According to the Chamber, while the country is in a “difficult situation, it can be solved if the government accepts the reality, and makes solving/reducing crime a priority.”
The T&T Chamber said it remains committed to fully support and collaborate with all legitimate agencies in the fight against crime.
“Saving our country from this spiralling crime is critical to our citizens and visitors wellbeing, and the preservation of our very way of life,” the Chamber said.
The spike in gunplay in the city triggered an emergency meeting of the Chamber on Friday.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gabriel Faria told Guardian Media that the meeting included the current board, members of the chamber and past presidents.
“We are extremely disappointed that there appears to be a politicising of the crime situation,” Faria said.
He said that by politicising the upsurge in crime, the Government showed a lack of empathy towards the victims.
He said that in the past two days, the Chamber held several internal meetings as the business community is in a “state of worry.”