CHALLENGE FOR HIM: Keith Rowley

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Crime plan task for opposition

I am absolutely certain that the Express has been flooded with letters of despair and a sense of hopelessness about the seemingly intractable crime situation in our beloved Trinidad and Tobago.

As a citizen resident outside of the country, I frequently wonder how my people can exist in such a precarious and anxiety-laden environment, but I am reminded that the human tendency is to create a new normal in a persistently abnormal situation.

My greater concern is how can this situation be restored to its true normalcy in which crime is reduced to some tolerable level.

I see comments by the acting Commissioner of Police making reference to the scope of the problem in that it requires a comprehensive approach involving a wide range of stakeholders not the least of which is the citizenry of our twin-island republic.

But I am wondering with a great deal of concern why are we stuck in the mode of constant talk and cross-talk throughout the society, without any hint of a concerted effort from any sector to actually spearhead something that would give the people some hope for the country's future, particularly for our children and grandchildren's sake.

Clearly, it looks like everyone has thrown in the towel in that this Government, just like the last one, is completely at sea as to how to begin to address this problem, and worst of all, public sentiment appears to have ebbed into an uneasy resignation. In the meantime, even as we attempt to hide our heads in the sand, the situation gets worse.

I would like to throw out a challenge to all patriotic Trinbagonians and in particular to the country's opposition party led by Dr Keith Rowley, to begin a serious movement to galvanise a symposium of knowledgeable individuals with a view coming up with a comprehensive plan within the next six months, and to present such a plan to the Parliament after proper public consultation.

Based on all the rumblings in the society in recent years, such a plan must include recommendations for the overhaul and refitting of an effective police/security service, serious and courageous proposals to bring the illegal drug trade under control, a review of the economic inequities in the society with particular focus on the unemployment situation, proposals to address the grave issue of mental health within the population, and an undertaking to review the sociological extent and impact of tensions among the major ethnic groups in the society. We should expect no less from a government-in-waiting.

Ours is a society that seems to be bursting at its emotional seams, and we have to find out why and do something about it.

Trinidad and Tobago is potentially the most beautiful place on earth and it is our home, so it seems to me that we need to make whatever effort is needed no matter how strenuous or risky, to restore it to the peace and dignity that we all deserve before it is too late and before we become haplessly labelled as a failed state.

Julius Wallace

Ontario, Canada

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