Friday 4th January, 2008

 

Govt anti-crime plans fall short

 
 
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Minister of National Security MARTIN JOSEPH addresses members of the media at yesterday’s news briefing. PHOTO: KARLA RAMOO

“Clearly some of the measures which were implemented did not work. Government is currently conducting an extensive review of all measures put in place.”

—National Security Minister Martin Joseph, speaking at a news conference yesterday.

What Joseph said:

  • Crime-fighting measures failed
  • Government reviewing options
  • Homicides gang-related

By Rhonda Krystal Rambally

National Security Minister Martin Joseph says anti-crime initiatives which were implemented failed to work.

As a result, the Government was now conducting an extensive review of those measures, he said.

Joseph was speaking at a news conference—which lasted no more than seven minutes—at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Temple Court Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

“Clearly, some of the measures which were implemented did not work...Government is currently conducting an extensive review of all measures put in place,” he said.

He said the Homicide Prevention Working Group, the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, the Repeat Offenders’ Programme, and the Inter-Agency Task Force were established to deal specifically with gang-related crime.

But they “clearly did not work and as a result those measures are being reviewed,” Joseph added.

Commenting about the murder toll for 2007— seven up to late yesterday—Joseph said the Government had projected a ten per cent reduction in homicides, but “that was not the case.”

Joseph said according to statistics provided by the police, the number of murders reported for 2007 was 388— a five per cent increase over 2006— which he said was 371.

“The bulk of homicides was gang-related,” he said.

It was the highest number of murders recorded to date, Joseph added.

Crime debate at first Parliament sitting

Joseph said after spending “a substantial amount of time” on the matter, it was the Government’s intention to pilot a motion at the first sitting of Parliament on Monday, to debate the issue of crime fully and comprehensively.

He said the issue was of tremendous concern to everyone in T&T and as such, the Government intended to provide the Parliament, and by extension the public, with “a full understanding of all measures that were being put in place to address crime, the challenges we are facing and how we propose to treat with these challenges.”

Not in a position to answer

When asked if he had been privy to information stemming out of the discussions held by community leaders from the East-West-Corridor last year at Crowne Plaza, Joseph replied no.

When posed with two other questions relating to gang violence, he said: “Unfortunately, I am not in a position to respond some of these specific matters...I am not in a position.”

He did respond, however, to the question of people who were in receipt of the Government-funded contracts being involved in criminal activities.

“We hear that, but we do not have the evidence to show that persons who are in receipt of Government contracts are directly involved in some of the criminal activities, ” he said.

“What I can assure you is that come Monday, we will be in a position to indicate what the Government intends to do.

“We will review the measures that we have put in place and the extent of which those measures have not worked and the extent to which we can expect new initiatives.”