Friday 29th April, 2005



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Enough about crime

By Gillian Lucky

[email protected]

The recent ridiculous utterances made by the Minister of National Security have sent a powerful message to all criminals: that until further notice, they can continue with their nefarious activity.

Minister Joseph has once again proven his unfailing ability to put his foot in his mouth and swallow it whole whenever called upon to give citizens the much needed assurance that the Government is doing something meaningful to fight crime.

The fact that he remains in office despite his obvious unsuitability to carry a portfolio as important as national security means that either the Prime Minister is unable to find a replacement that fits the low criteria as set or that this government is unconcerned about dealing efficiently and effectively with the crime situation.

The question is, why is this regime so unmoved about escalating crime? One would have thought that Minister Hinds, although junior in his position, would have been able to convince those with greater power that the crisis at hand demands much greater action from his colleagues who continually boast that all is well under the PNM.

The citizens await

A new trend has developed in which senior Cabinet member Minister Saith is given the task of negating all the criticism on the subject of crime but despite his most valiant attempts, law-abiding citizens are able to see beyond the facade.

For those who claim to possess moral and spiritual values in reserves greater than their counterparts, why not come forward and confront the problem in an open and transparent manner? It is unacceptable to hide behind invisible virtue while throwing punches on the opposite side.

The citizenry is sick and tired of hearing about the alleged transgressions of the former government in light of the present accusations of impropriety, misconduct and corruption of the present administration. The entire society is disgusted with the decadence that has set in and patiently waits for those who can create positive change to step forward and do something more than speak the language of political rhetoric.

Putting the politics aside simply means not following blindly the dictates of those who do not have the nation’s good at heart. What is meant by the “nation’s good” is not a subjective test but an objective one based on ensuring that the principles of fairness, the tenets of democracy and professional integrity are given paramount importance in every walk of life.

It is for the Government to set the example so that others would follow. Unfortunately, this regime prefers to cast blame elsewhere and use the politics of distraction in order to camouflage its increasing incompetence and wrongdoing in office.

Early warning signs

It is unfortunate and to our detriment that this government ignored the early signs that we had a crime crisis on our hands. One would remember the delegation sent abroad to beg the English to revisit its travel advisory warning tourists that our country was not a safe haven. After this expensive and inappropriate attempt to fix the problem, several other countries adjusted their advisories, giving similar warnings to their citizens.

Instead of addressing the situation in a mature manner, the Government once again chose to blame the Opposition, stating that some of its members had been able to convince the respective foreigners to make the changes in the travel bulletins. So widespread was this propaganda that some blind followers actually believed this to be true. Thankfully, the majority of the population was not so easily fooled.

Having disregarded the concerns expressed in the international domain, the Government continued doing practically nothing to reduce criminal activity. Big plans were announced and several roadblocks causing great inconvenience to innocent travellers were mounted but the net result was a big zero.

Whereas some citizens who received tickets as a result of the Anaconda roadblocks would be more diligent in ensuring compliance with the laws concerning the use of vehicles, no serious criminals or kidnappers were apprehended during these much publicised events. Ministers hanging out of helicopters observing the operations a safe distance away were however able to boast that much was being done to solve crime.

Taking advice

To date the murder toll has exceeded 110 and the British High Commission has issued a new advisory to its nationals not to resist robbers or muggers. The US Government is offering a US$10,000 reward for information leading to the location of kidnap victim Balram Bachu Maharaj as well as the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his abduction.

Two days ago there was a hostage drama at Dinsley Junction in Tac-arigua, a man was killed in the West and a San Juan businessman was shot while trying to defend himself from attackers. His gun was stolen during the incident.

In the midst of all this serious criminal activity, Minister Joseph has sought to convince the population “that the crime problem in this country is not as bad as we make it all to be.” Words cannot describe the absurdity of this remark made at a time when we mourn the deaths of so many decent citizens who have been brutally murdered including Radha Pixie Lakhan and soldier Ruben Cabbler.

A quick synopsis

After December, 2001, when this Government was given the mantle of power by Mr Robinson, criminal activity began to increase and when faced with the alarming figures the country was assured that the situation was under control.

Despite these false assurances and promises that the Government was engaging in a war against criminals there were stories about ministers having close relationships with gang members who for ease of acceptance were referred to as community leaders.

In fact, the Prime Minister during a subsequent election campaign said that he would accept support from wherever it came and “came it did” from people, some of whom had checkered pasts and criminal records.

The fact that some of these people boldly testified on oath as to the pivotal role they played during the general elections shows, amongst other things, the glorious hypocrisy of this Manning-led administration.

How shameful that a man who led a coup attempt, the aftermath of which many claim contributed significantly to the criminal crisis we experience today, was given a PBR pass and perhaps other privileges by this regime and is today treated like a hero!

When will this madness end? When will right thinking people allow their voices to carry the weight of the much needed change for better governance? The chances are few and the porthole for positive change is closing.

Beware: you remain silent on pertinent issues at your own peril.




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