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
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 nations good
at heart. What is meant by the nations 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.
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
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
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