Why Jack's plans won't solve crime
He has developed a reputation as a "make-it-happen" minister, albeit largely through shrewd public relations and self-promotion, but in his new portfolio as Minister of National Security, it is unlikely Jack Warner will ever resolve the issue of rampant crime in Trinidad and Tobago.
Any logical, rational citizen who is familiar with the real causes of crime in this country will arrive at the same conclusion through objective analysis, and there is a plethora of reasons that support such a conclusion.
At the top of the list is the "silo" approach that has been taken to solving crime in Trinidad and Tobago. The terribly myopic view that reducing crime is a matter exclusively for the attention of the National Security Ministry and the security forces is a sorely misguided one that has proven its intrinsic ineptitude, regime after regime.
Let me be clear, crime-fighting strategies in T&T is the business of all branches of Government, as well as the wider society. We must connect the dots. How does Mr Warner propose to abate crime without the contribution and policy alignment of other ministries such as Education, Justice, Sport, Social Development, Finance, Community Development and Culture, just to name a few?
How does Mr Warner expect to successfully fight crime when he endorses an Attorney General who clearly does not understand the role of his office and appears to be more concerned with acting as the personal legal counsel of the United National Congress (UNC) rather than looking after and updating the legal machinery of the country? Without a combined and co-ordinated strategic and tactical approach to the issues by all these various stakeholders, this latest battle against crime is lost even before it begins.
Mr Warner may do well to first understand and then apply the economic philosophy of "supply and demand" in the fight against crime. He needs to simultaneously eradicate the demand for criminals and the supply of criminals.
Let me explain. The phenomenon of a "demand" for criminals is a side effect of larger problems in our society. This phenomenon is born out of circumstances in our society that make criminal conduct a necessary consequence. Such circumstances would include the lure of the "easy money" provided by the trade in narcotics and the hopelessness and desperation, particularly among young people, as a consequence of an economy in disarray.
On the supply side, criminals are being "created" every day in our society as a consequence of warped values due to poor parenting, a failing (or failed) education system and an all but complete collapse of alternative activities such as sport, military and vocational training, which may potentially enhance the development of talent and discipline in our youth.
Mr Warner therefore needs to look beyond the criminals that are immediately before him if he wishes to reduce crime in this country. He needs to understand that unless the overall lack of proper governance and other circumstances that create criminals in this society are addressed, his battle will see no end.
That is not to say he should not place ample focus on eliminating the scourge of the criminals currently in our midst, but in order to keep the "infestation" at bay, he must work closely with his political leader and his colleagues to carefully develop and execute a crime-fighting plan that is comprehensive and policy-driven across the board. Until this is done, well, ol' Jack will be as they say, "spinning top in mud".
Now, these are just a few of the challenges facing Mr Warner in his quest to deal effectively with crime. In the following weeks, I intend to submit additional letters outlining more of the challenges and possible solutions with regard to Mr Warner and his approach to crime. It is my hope that you and your paper will accommodate me.