The business community will support whoever takes over as Police Commissioner, but a targeted plan is still imperative to solve the underlying problems that lead to crime in the first place, say two prominent business leaders.
"From our perspective, personalities are the issue, so long as there is a plan to deal with the crime that is taking a toll on business activity…anything that (is effective) will have our support," American Chamber of Commerce president Hugh Howard said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"Whoever gets the position will have our support… I just hope we don't revert to the state we were in a few years ago where people didn't trust the Police Service; I hope we can keep corruption in the service down," added San Fernando Business Association president Daphne Bartlett, also in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Howard called on the "powers that be" to ensure a new commissioner and deputy are installed as a matter of urgency.
"Our competitiveness is being seriously affected. Crime has a negative impact on our costs of production, whether people want to come and invest here, and the extra costs businesses have to put out for security," he said.
On Monday Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and his deputy Jack Ewatski had tendered their resignations last Thursday, effective August 7.
The Police Service Commission stated in a release on Tuesday that Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Williams will act as top cop until the end of January next year.
Bartlett said crime has been "very disturbing" for the last 12 years, especially with the increase in murders in "hotspots".
"No matter who the police commissioner is, unless you put a handle on the narco-trade in the country, and catch and prosecute some 'big fish' we will not be able to curb crime. That is what the Minister of National Security should be paying attention to," she said.
She said Gibbs's and Ewatski's 21st Century initiative had appeared to her as being well-received by the public, and was not sure that bringing back old initiatives (like the Flying Squad) would be as effective.
"Whatever happens, we will wait and see what happens," she said, adding that she felt public confidence in the police had improved over the last two years.