Thursday, April 4, 2013

Commentary: Fighting crime needs everybody's support

Remember when it was the norm to sit out on the porch on an evening leaving the front door open to let some cool breeze in the house?

Now every single house in the neighborhood has burglar proofing on every window, every door and every tiny opening, steel doors with double and triple locking mechanisms, security lights and alarm systems, aggressive guard dogs, barb wiring and the list goes on.

And yet still, we all know someone down the street or around the corner, some friend or family or neighbor who was held up at gunpoint, whose car was stolen or whose house was broken into or worse. That is, if it hasn’t already happened to us.

Trinidad and Tobago is facing a crime epidemic. Crime has spread from the known ‘hot zones’ into traditionally peaceful, crime free communities. Crime has not just become rampant but it has become increasingly violent and brutal. Criminals have no regard for race, social standing, age, gender or political affiliation. Criminals kill with a seeming indifference to the value of life.

I believe that as citizens we all have a right to feel safe, to not live in constant fear that some harm will come to us or our loved ones. We should not have to resign ourselves to a life of fear, adjusting our entire lifestyle around criminal elements.

We need to stop playing political games and start focusing on the taking our country back from the criminals and building a secure future for ourselves and our children.

This is why the Defence Bill should have the support of every member of Parliament and every single citizen regardless of political affiliation. There are certain national issues that must necessarily transcend political divisiveness.

While there may be challenges to the administration of the Bill this should not obscure the overall intent and purpose of the Bill and the positive benefits that can be achieved by establishing a transparent and legitimate process for collaborative efforts between the police and the army.

The Attorney General is right when he says that we need to put our army to use. It is pointless to be prepared to defend our country from external threats of invasion when the real danger lies internally. Our citizens need protection now, not from some unknown outside threat that may never materialize but from actual dangers that citizens face on a daily basis.

It is clear that immediate measures must be taken to curb crime. While we can spend time arguing about the pros and the cons and the maybes and the what if’s, the criminals are out there committing more and more heinous crimes with basically no fear of the law and no fear of reprisals. While we are fighting amongst ourselves, organized crime is growing.

The Government has attempted to ensure that necessary controls and safeguards are either built into the Bill or catered for in subsequent Regulations and/or guidelines. As these concerns are being addressed, there should be no reason to prevent our support of this initiative in the fight against crime.

The Defence Bill is an active show of strength by the Government which should have the support of any citizen who believes in a future for Trinidad and Tobago.

Krystal Jaglalsingh | Point Fortin

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai