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Demming: Until PNM and UNC unite on crime, we are all sitting ducks

The societal breakdown around us is palpable.

Everywhere you turn there is chaos, indiscipline and manifestations of a society about to implode. Once you leave your home, your senses are assaulted by aggressive driving, loud music, lack of courtesy and piles of garbage. These assaults are carried out by people who are confident that there are no consequences for their actions so they continue to push the envelope.

Photo: A young man kisses a high powered weapon.

They have received the memo that if you kill your neighbour it will take 15 years for the matter to be called in the courts; that like Ish, Steve and Jack, if the courts have pronounced against you in a matter, you can use the bureaucracy to avoid any consequences; that if you commit a home invasion, by the time the police arrive you would have moved on to your next heist; that you can commit traffic violations like driving in reverse for more than 3 kilometres and despite the evidence being on camera, you will not be prosecuted; that as a doctor, you can carry out surgery on a person to remove cocaine from his stomach, not report it, and if you’re found out, and no one will hold you accountable.

This is not a list of hypothetical scenarios but rather realities which empower wrongdoers to operate with impunity. We know that there is no silver bullet solution to the scourge of criminality which is stalking our land, and solutions are complex, but citizens want to feel confident that somewhere it is being addressed.

In the 2015 election battle, both political parties used ‘solving crime’ as a key pillar in their manifestos.  The People’s Partnership manifesto made 59 references to crime and committed to preserving law and order.  The PNM talked about a new approach which would modernise and transform the Police Service and ultimately operationalise the Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs).

Since both parties had solutions in 2015, isn’t it logical for the Government and the Opposition to collaborate now to tackle our most intractable problem?

Photo: Then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) shakes hands with her successor, Dr Keith Rowley, en route to Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

As the saying goes, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

If I were the Leader of the Opposition I would write to the Prime Minister offering to work with him on a crime plan. I would also provide a list of 7 subject matter experts who could operate on a bi-partisan basis to provide solutions. Then I would make this all public to be transparent and demonstrate that leaders can collaborate on critical issues.

Such an offer would be extremely difficult for the Prime Minister to reject and it will signal to the wider community that the Opposition is responsible and willing to act in the national interest.

In the absence of collaboration to solve crime, citizens will continue to operate in chaos and be happy that we survived another moment without being a victim. Living in fear and praying that you will not be the next victim is unacceptable and inhumane.

We deserve better than this.

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming is an Adjunct Faculty Member at UWI, Media and Communications Strategist, TEDxPOS organiser and co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain and Chairman of the Board at TTTHTI. Dennise, who grew up in East POS, also has a Business MBA and B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and Mass Communications from UWI.

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2 comments

  1. Excellent commentary!

  2. The challenge with crime, as I have indicated elsewhere, and on numerous occasions, is not that we don’t have adequate laws in place, despite the claims by motor mouth, Griffith. The major challenge lies in the heart of the TTPS; the relationship, or lack thereof, between the TTPS and the citizenry. Citizens have no confidence in the TTPS–none whatsoever. Almost everyone in their respective communities know who all who are involved in the criminal activities. Members of the TTPS live in these same communities. They too, know those involved. However, there is zero trust between the citizens and the police. So even if I know someone involved I do not trust that the police will keep any information passed on to them confidential. The murders of state witnesses over the past years have been constant, with no detection. When citizens look at the detection rate, especially of murders (check the TTPS’ website on Stats), and see the pathetic numbers, no one cannot blame them.
    So Kamla and Rowley getting together is useless. In an adversarial political system, Kamala should only be too happy with the numbers. She thinks she looks good by Rowley looking bad. It is not in her interest to assist him; but merely to replace him….
    The TTPS has received every blasted thing they have asked for from laws, technology/equipment and funding. It is high time they get off their collective asses and get the blasted job done. And stop bitching.