Friday 7th March, 2008

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Make PoS

safe again

There is a desperate need to bring stability to the confusion, criminal mayhem and distress in the nation. This stability is needed to prevent the average citizen going into paroxysms of fits of fear and frustration, even anger.

There are those who like to believe that media reportage on the criminal and other distressing events of the day should be severely curtailed if not completely expunged. Unfortunately for those, usually politicians and their fanatical supporters, media censorship will not wish-away the problems of society.

Indeed, any stifling by media of the travail under which the country is living will only add to the state of deterioration as the average citizen will live in a fool’s paradise, unaware and therefore unprepared for possible attack by the criminal forces.

As we have said in previous editorials, to hand out guns “free sheet” to citizens to counter criminals would only add to the mayhem and result in the loss of lives of many well-intentioned citizens attempting to protect their families and property. That however cannot be the end of the story.

What this editorial is appealing for today is for the law enforcement agencies to get together with corporate bodies, service industries, the city corporation and private citizens to bring a large measure of stability to the capital city of Port-of-Spain.

If the capital city continues to be affected in the present manner, then sooner rather than later the message will be sent that the authorities have lost complete control and from there on it would be a free-for-all, not only to the city but spread to the adjoining urban centres.

It is in this regard that the proposals by the Downtown Merchants Association seem in need of serious consideration by Mayor Murchison Brown and his corporation and eventually the central government.

It is not that this newspaper is advocating the proposals point for point, or even as an overall document, but that we are suggesting that an indication by a group of corporate citizens ready to join resources to bring stability to the city is in absolute need of full consideration. The group comprises people with everything to lose if law and order deteriorates beyond the present, but everything to gain if the city is restored.

Stabilising the city and eventually reducing crime to a minimum is something that can be contained because we are talking about a small and restricted geographic area. Moreover, one which can be marked off as a high security area and can be brought under the control of the security forces.

The psychological effect would have been that a beachhead of law and order would have been established against criminals and their activities. From there the security forces can then push into the criminal hotspots to gain similar control of territory.

It would be a strategy to incrementally take back the country, portion by portion, putting criminals on the run with the intention of making no place in T&T hospitable.

Therefore a strategy of stability spreading out from the centre seems a very appropriate one to win the physical and psychological war against criminals. Starting with the city’s regional corporation and extending to others who live and work in the city, there must be this thrust to stability in the first instance and then the eventual reclaiming of the country. Doing it incrementally and by geographic areas seem to make a whole lot of sense.

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