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Structural adjustment needed: Daly comments on spiralling murder rate and road fatalities

As asserted before, it is gross inadequacies at the macro level of political thinking and action that have inevitably produced and made worse the problems besetting us.

The political parties need to re-think their deep inadequacies. They have us entangled in a nasty web of wanton murder, impunity for killers, a dysfunctional educational model, zero traffic management, profligate expenditure by politically supine state enterprises and gluttonous feasting under the cloak of Carnival and other cultural promotion. No distinction can be made in the inadequacies of both parties relative to those matters.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC. (Copyright Power102fm)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC.
(Copyright Power102fm)

A consistent theme of these columns is that we are in dire need of structural adjustment in the governance of our country and that we also urgently need to ameliorate the socio-economic dependency to which we have routinely condemned generations of disadvantaged.

It is emphasised that this need is not a reference to structural adjustment in the economy, meaning the imposition of economic measures at the direction of external agencies. As discerning readers will know, I mean structural adjustment in our governance structures and the employment of enlightened and empowering social development policies.

I am sometimes heartened by published comment that I may be on the right track. My attention was recently drawn to a comment reportedly made by the Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to my publication of an encouragement given to a graduating class to attain self-esteem. He shared this comment with all staff via email.

Hoping that it was not a computer trick—given the acknowledgment that social media is being widely abused—I refer to this comment because it so precisely summarised and supported one of the observations I have been advancing.

The comment of the UWI Principal was: “I was moved enough by this article by Martin Daly in yesterday’s news and decided that I had to share it with you. It speaks to the low level of self-esteem that, I am pretty certain, dogs many, most, significantly the disadvantaged, in our country.

Photos: Patrons enjoy the festivities during Trinidad and Tobago's 2016 Independence Day Parade. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photos: Patrons enjoy the festivities during Trinidad and Tobago’s 2016 Independence Day Parade.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“Mr Daly purports its role in the raging crime statistics. My concern, as does his, also lies in the hindrance it presents to maximum achievement.  Just for your consideration…”

I quote this because it speaks to the condition that provides fertile ground for the turning of the hearts and minds of youth to seek a fatal kind of self-esteem as soldiers for the big fish bandits, whose influence in and depredations of our society the politicians refuse to tackle.

We can only guess at the extent to which this refusal is linked to campaign finance, complicity of law enforcement and the wilful blindness of the elites.

I predicted a decade ago that these dangerous links would inevitably lead to a breakdown of ordered legal control; and so it has.

Given the six-death road accident in Arima last week, it is ironic that I first referred in 2003 to the well known example given by Professor LA Hart of the significance of a red light as an example of ordered legal control.

Hart stated that in a well ordered society: “The red light is not merely a sign that others will stop. They (meaning all citizens) look upon it as a signal for them to stop and so a reason for stopping in conformity to rules which make stopping when the light is red a standard of behavior and an obligation.”

Photo: The scene of a vehicular accident.
Photo: The scene of a vehicular accident.

The breakdown of ordered legal control is as manifest in the appalling road traffic fatalities as it is in the murders. All of last week there was much emotion but no credible and robust law enforcement plans for traffic management following the latest devastation wrought by the car that allegedly broke a red light in Arima and sent a van “flying” with six fatalities as a result.

Even as we now mourn another youthful victim—found murdered in a Charlotte Street store—no Government can now bring down the murder rate or reverse the impunity with which murder is committed, unless it has the will to tackle the big fish and not be even indirectly wined and dined or subsidised by them.

Too much control has been ceded to those elements as a result of indifference, greed and political and law enforcement complicity.

As a precursor step, new constitutionally structured arrangements are urgently required for the appointment, promotion, removal and exercise of disciplinary control of the police service, to include a unit which can successfully put its finger on malpractice and corruption in the police service. This can only be done by means of bi-partisan action.

Meanwhile what is to be put in place to receive domestic violence and child abuse reports sympathetically and to see to it that action is taken upon them promptly and seriously before the inevitable murder takes place?

Photo: A candle light vigil for a murder victim.
Photo: A candle light vigil for a murder victim.

We do not need a constitutional amendment for that or to enable the arrest of the killer of four-year old Jenice Figaro.

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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22 comments

  1. Everyone is looking for a messiah this Christmas. That includes Marty Daly.

    Mr. Daly offers no suggestion about how we can right the good ship SS Trinidad.

    But that is no criticism. The hard truth is that there is little that can be done in the short term to address the crime situation in sweet T&T.

    Most proposals that have been offered to us have failed because they were just empty rhetoric. Political blather.

    Take for example the latest proclamation from the T&T Chamber of Commerce. Their recommendation?
    “Zero tolerance” on crime.

    http://newsday.co.tt/news/0,237219.html

    What that means i dont know. But haven’t we had various guilds, government organizations and trade associations stating the same thing for at least 15 years without results?

    Zero tolerance means nothing if you dont have a plan and the resources to address the issue.

    One problem as highlighted by Mr. Daly iz that we have ineffective governance and leadership. I agree. Most of us already know that.

    But how to fix this is the key. None so far have offered any tangible sustainable solutions.

    Not government. Not private sector. Not even paid foreign experts. Not Mr. Daly.

    The good ship T&T is adrift.

  2. So on point and so disheartening what our beautiful country has degenerated into. It’s sheer madness out there and no light on the horizon. Every government has failed and while they are protected the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves and most times with horrendous results. Failed State you think?

  3. Martin Daly is being diplomatic.
    The malaise that threatens to destroy the republic has been decades in the making. Complicity or aka corruption appear to be endemic.
    Regime change does not appear to help.
    How can this be rolled back??

    Constitutional change?

  4. Again, Mr. Daly quotes himself….ad nauseum. Ahh, he goes further and quotes someone who is praising him.

    Yes the police has blame to receive blah blah blah, but what about the lame duck called the judiciary? It is unfathomable that an institution with so many intelligent persons can be so inefficient and deaf to the calls for improvement.

    Due to the Judiciary’s failure to meet the need for justice, there seems to be little deterrence and punishment for criminals. The court room then becomes a revolving door, you get in, secure bail, if convicted get more discounts from the Court than from Courts, you go out the door to walk in again.
    By the time one matter is finished, you would have committed at least twenty more.

  5. Daly your law firm email system sending out suspicious pdf files. You may be hacked.

  6. Lasana or Mr Daly . Is KUSH. I don’t have # but I can say with authority, that murders spiked significantly when the Kush Became king of Trinidad and Tobago.

  7. And Kush. Illegal Marijuana. High value strain of weed. That is the cause of murders. A billion dollar industry where most of transactions above 4 ounces is done trough consignment, ‘trust’, ‘pay half’, and ‘bring the next half’. Nobody talking about the Kush! Its so obvious what our leaders need to do.

  8. Always has powerful statements in his articles.

    (1) ” The breakdown of ordered legal control is as manifest in the appalling road traffic fatalities as it is in the murders.”

    (2) ” Too much control has been ceded to those elements as a result of indifference, greed and political and law enforcement complicity.”

  9. But Mr.Martin you and the COP had a chance but were fearful to go it alone for the second time.
    I can only think what might have been and end to tribal politics.

  10. Why yah think the colonial powers use to bring Labour from Barbados and the small Islands. Civil Servants,Policemen,Oil field workers. They used to mix up the thing.

  11. First time I ever know Daly to talk something vaguely resembling sense

  12. Only way this works is by a new department of hand picked and foreign members. They need powers of arrest etc. and we also need the judiciary involved in some sort of fast tracked measure of dedicated magistrates. Keep this for about 5 years and it should make a dent. But try to operate within the current system and I just don’t see things happening.and yeah , this was tried in the past . And it seemed to have started working before it was shut down