It is with a sad heart I write about the present crime wave affecting the country. Crime must be considered as a non-partisan issue or else we shall fail in our efforts to defeat the criminals.
The fight against crime must be simply "We" (all citizens regardless of party affiliations) against "them" (all criminal elements) or else we shall forever be playing catch up.
It must not be a fight for the Partnership, PNM, UNC, COP or any such organisations or else we are doomed to lose. All societies where lawlessness is rampant have one common thread — division whether political, ethnic religious or otherwise.
A unified approach would see all stakeholders getting together and would raise our standing as a maturing democracy.
We have seen how the US responded to 9/11 and the UK's response to their bombings as they all rallied against the terrorists. Rather than that approach, we had the ugly spectre of the then opposition UNC opposing all aspects of the PNM's initiatives to solve crime, with the opposition leader infamously stating then: "My job is not to make the government look good"…….on crime.
The actions of the then opposition, if that had happened in the developed world, would have seen all condemned for an eternity outside politics, but we are still learning.
What we have now is just as ugly. Rather than the present Government showing continuity, crime is viewed in a partisan manner. They ignored/stopped all that was done before to start from scratch to solve the problem.
If the efforts were viewed as national in scope then this approach would not have been necessary but this Government keeps searching for a magic silver bullet.
We have lost valuable ground in this battle against the common enemy as this Government tries to re-invent the wheel and also due to their opposition to previous efforts.
If crime were a straight fight, ignoring political posturing consider what could happen.
1. If the laws against gangs had been passed five years ago when they were first proposed where would we be now?
2. Suppose the other anti-crime legislation had been passed, where would we be now?
3. What about the cancelled OPVs? If crime were seen as non-partisan and not as an opportunity for scoring points, would they have been cancelled only to attempt to restart the purchase procedure?
4. Would we be having arguments over the Flying Squad or disbanding of SUATT only to have a new unit in place?
All these have meant valuable time and lives lost, while we dither and rally against each other.
Let us make a change and reset….Bullets do not know about party!