Monday, May 23, 2016

Guest Commentary: Sorry Madam Speaker, Crime in T&T is a matter of definite and urgent national importance!

A common scene in T&T today. (Guardian photo)
The figures are staggering: five murders in 17 hours in one weekend; 15 last weekend starting with Friday the 13th. It has never been this bad in Trinidad & Tobago.

Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar recognized the problem and on Friday last she asked the Speaker to adjourn Parliament’s agenda to debate the crime problem as a matter of urgent national importance. The Speaker refused.

The Speaker is the Chief Officer and highest authority of the House of Representatives and must remain politically impartial at all times. But Brigid Annisette-George, a former PNM Attorney General, has demonstrated over and over since her election in September 2015 that she is anything close to that. Indeed, she has shown that she is a loyal member of the governing party, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain a PNM agenda in the people's parliament.

The homicide figures are at an all-time high - 196 since the year started and growing every day. The Prime Minister himself has acknowledged that what is happening is unacceptable but at the same time has behaved like Pontius Pilate, washing his hands off the problem as if to cleanse himself of the blood flowing on the streets.

So it was not surprising that everyone except PNM administration knows we have a crisis. In refusing to accommodate the Opposition leader, Mrs. Annisette-George left people wondering if she is a genuine presiding officer or a puppet of the Rowley-led PNM Administration.

Given what is happening in the country, it is unthinkable that the Speaker saw no urgency in bringing the issue before the Parliament for the people's representatives to debate and probably find a solution.

This Speaker, it seems, cannot take off her PNM blinkers, which prevented her from seeing that the increasing number of murders is causing widespread fear and concern in our country and is also damaging the international reputation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Indeed, one is must ask if Mrs. Annisette-George understands her role or whether she believes that sitting on the Speaker's chair is the same as presiding over party affairs at Balisier House. How else can anyone comprehend the rejection of the motion filed by the Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister?

We are already listed in the top 10 most violent countries in the world and under this government, we seem to be aiming to reach number one.

The government has all but admitted that it cannot deal with the problem. There’s no switch to turn off crime, the Prime Minister told reporters last week.

Strangely enough, the Minister of National Security has boasted that the government’s crime fighting plans are working.

Working Mr Minister? 196 dead and your plan is working? Then we can only assume that your plan includes the dead as collateral damage. But what really is the plan?

There are three ministers in the Ministry of National Security. The Ministry has the largest allocation of funds from the National Budget.

Clearly money is not the problem.

The problem is the impotence of the administration to confront and solve the problem.

Capil Bissoon | Canada - 23 May 2016

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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