Fixing crime is not as hard as some would have you believe

Dear Editor,

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley is reported to have said at the sod-turning ceremony of the Carenage police station, that there is no easy fix to gangs benefitting from state dollars.

The Democratic Party of Trinidad and Tobago (DPTT) suggest that there is, in fact, an easy fix. End the CEPEP and URP projects and replace them with modern local government reform where members of the community are given permanent jobs rather than token temporary contracts.

The money spent annually on CEPEP and URP ought to be funneled to the communities through a new management structure where communities manage their infrastructure development and maintenance. It is a fact that grass grows and need to be cut periodically. The watercourses and drains must be cleaned and maintained. Street signs are to be maintained, updated and periodically replaced. Our beaches are to be kept clean, public toilet facilities must be cleaned and maintained and our bridges painted. These are jobs that are constant, they do not go away.

What then is the idea behind temporary employment for a permanent condition?

Could it be that politicians use their term in office to funnel state funds to party supporters by offering them contracts and temporary employment to do jobs that could be done through community management?

If one is serious about addressing the growing gang warfare and rebuilding our communities, the solution is permanent employment for people. The result is that workers will now have job security and can access banking facilities like obtaining a mortgage or loan. Gang leaders will have no contractor to extort money from and will not have the power to offer jobs or money to members for their support.

Prime minister Rowley, that is not difficult. It existed under the colonial rule and before the regional corporations were put in place. There were county councils that employed workers in the county to do many of the jobs now given to CEPEP and URP contractors.

One would find it difficult to understand how on one hand there are speeches about being serious about crime, but to date, after many suggestions by the DPTT and the police commissioner, there are no stun guns immediately available for police use.

I remember interviewing a police provost under the Gibb’s management of the police who told me that there were over 4,000 stun guns in a warehouse in storage for the police. One wonders what happened to those stun guns.

The Marine Police remains a thought only remembered when there are coastal incidents. How can one be serious about crime on an island without a marine police patrol? How can any politician excuse the failure of both major political parties to enact legislation that mandates the state as the only supplier of vehicle number plates manufactured with security features? Where are the laws that place emphasis on the protection of life and property? Where are the exceedingly stiff penalties and expedited journey through our justice system for gun violence and the threat to life and property? These are not difficult things and can be done if one is serious about crime.

The DPTT can and will within 90 days after coming into office take the necessary steps to restore safety and security to all our communities in Trinidad and Tobago, by doing that, which the two major political parties could not do, simply because of the lack of political will.

God bless our nation.

– Steve Alvarez, political leader of the Democratic Party of Trinidad & Tobago


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