Former National Security Minister, Jack Warner, says it is time that Government officially activates a State of Emergency (SoE), to deal with the crime crisis in the country.
Mr Warner was reacting to news of the most recent incidents of gang violence in the capital city, Port of Spain.
He believes the authorities here need to take a page out of the Jamaica playbook with targeted SoEs in hotspot areas, in order to get a handle on gang violence.
According to Mr Warner, the country has been under a tacit State of Emergency for the past couple of years, even though the government never officially declared one.
He says at least 2,000 persons have been murdered in this country, during the PNM’s term in office, and citizens have curtailed their personal and professional activities in response to rising crime. He says crime is destroying Trinidad and Tobago.
“A guy from Canada has come to Trinidad for the Christmas holidays, and he is strangled. He is dead—him and his family,” he points out. “Doctors kidnapped; one of them is dead. Yesterday in Port of Spain, I saw some gruesome pictures of people fleeing for their lives. How long can this continue?”
The former national security minister is calling on Government to act now.
“The people are living in that state and the government now has to make it official,” Jack Warner states. “Deal with crime as it comes. Weed people out from community to community and bit by bit, you lift the emergency in such areas that you have covered. There is no other way.”
Jack warner is calling for a holistic approach to solving the problem of gang violence, noting that the draconian legislation passed by the PNM over the past couple of years is not the only answer.
He believes the ministries of Sport and Education must be involved in any crime fighting initiatives.
He also is concerned about ethnic profiling influencing decisions made about fighting crime.
“I have observed that only one ethnic group, in the main, is involved in crime. Mainly Africans seem to be involved in crime,” he alleges. “Go to the courts and to Remand Yard and see what is happening. Look at all the viral videos showing criminals at work and see what is happening. Why are mainly Africans involved in crime?”
He adds: “Why is crime always so high when the PNM is in power? These are serious issues to answer.”
Jack Warner says the Rowley Administration needs to revisit their anti-crime strategies, since the country has steadily recorded an annual average of roughly 500 murders, under their tenure.
Story by JESSIE-MAY VENTOUR