The following statement calling for bipartisan action against crime comes from former UNC MP for Caroni East Dr Tim Gopeesingh:
The brutal attacks and murders of Andrea Bharatt and many other women underscore the horrendous crime reality that has been stalking our nation in recent years. What is needed now to counteract this is urgent legislative reform and attendant policy implementation by the government of the day, with the opposition playing a very crucial role in spearheading this national lobby.
In the mid-2000s, then Prime Minister Patrick Manning, and then opposition leader, Basdeo Panday, had famously put their very strong political differences aside to hold bipartite meetings over the spiralling crime rate. This was aimed at arriving at a consensus in the crucial Constitutional Amendment Act (2006) re the Police Service Commission.
The current prime minister and opposition leader must now adopt a similar bipartisan approach, ideally after urgent, widespread consultations/considerations of proposals with/of all relevant UWI institutions (criminology, women and gender affairs), civil society groups, the police and other national security agencies, and independent senators.
This with the aim of charting an urgent policy paper, using all available research from the aforementioned bodies, aimed at providing tangible solutions to the nation’s runaway crime problem. It should then be debated in parliament if need be, and urgently implemented by the government of the day in whatever possible form.
In addition, Her Excellency, the president, should meet with both the prime minister and opposition leader on this matter, offering counsel and urging both office holders to work towards urgent solutions on behalf of a battered, terrified, traumatised and weary citizenry.
The time for urgent action on this barbaric crime spate is NOW. Our nation is in a crisis state, and our women and girls must no longer be the tragic collateral damage of this reign of unprecedented, brutal criminal terror. It is now up to the citizens to lobby their leaders to act in our best interests and restore Trinidad and Tobago to decency, humanity, and a place of safety and security for all.