Time to put spotlight on gangs
Crime is the number one problem in Trinidad. The political stock of any Government rises and falls on its ability to control crime and in particular, murder. How can someone who has the means and determination to kill be stopped?
The recent upsurge in gang related criminal activity in East Port of Spain is a case in point. Without a doubt there is an urgent need for more targeted resources to address the gang problem and the propensity of urban youth to join them.
However, it might be useful to disaggregate the figures for gang related activity and murders from the overall crime assessment to provide better focus and evaluation of suppression efforts. It might just be less traumatic for us to say we have a criminal gang problem than to say we have a crime problem.
Gangsters are able to terrorise our country twice: before and after they kill each other. This is because these murders are added to the overall homicide figures and affect the psyche of the nation. An entire nation is branded as being murderous. To say a la Dookeran that the nation will not rise until Laventille rises is inaccurate. Who says Laventille is dead and buried? There is much good there despite the generations of red neglect. The aforementioned targeted approach must extricate the resident evil. Our nation is already great! We will only continue to rise when like a Jehue Gordon we can clear the hurdles of gang violence and drugs.
While every human life is important surely we must rationalise differently murders of gangsters by gangsters. It would help if we knew how many of the murdered this year were gangsters killed by their opponents or associates. Even in the underworld people rarely get killed for no reason.
We ought not to lump these killings with all the others including persons killed in domestic violence. Let us put the spotlight on gangsters and perhaps there will be a manicou effect. Let’s move beyond the mantra of ‘gang related’ and give the figures as well.
The police gang unit must provide an analysis of gang culture which could be used by parents, teachers, and community members to identify and counsel potential transgressors. This, together with hard policing must be the way to go.