National Security Minister Gary Griffith needs to explain to the nation why this country’s borders were not secured over the past three years, says Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh.
In his contribution to the debate on the 2013-2014 national budget at the Senate sitting yesterday, Deyalsingh pointed out that the People’s Partnership Government was voted into office because their promise to tackle crime was one of their key mandates, but three years later the issue remains critical.
He noted that the cancelling of the contract to secure three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), the calling of a state of emergency as well as the selling of the blimp are all failed measures the Government took in the crime fight.
Deyalsingh said it takes approximately six to nine months for a minister to get a proper handle in their ministry and since this administration entered office there have been some four National Security ministers with no crime plan.
He said the Government’s medium-term policy framework spoke of the implementation of two long-range vessels to patrol the borders, which has not yet been put into place.
Deyalsingh added that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had spoken of two decommissioned ships from the United States to also be used to patrol the waters and to date nothing has been said of this as well.
The Senator said that the former People’s National Movement (PNM) government had a number of plans to fight crime, but this Government has taken an approach to scrap any brainchild of the PNM on this issue.
Government, he said, cannot get a handle on crime because they were approaching it from an “elite” point of view.
He said white collar criminals were not being dealt with and those who import the cocaine, marijuana and drugs remain at large.
“We cannot see crime as something based on a group of deviant persons ... who is bringing in the drugs and guns?” asked Deyalsingh.
“Don’t speak in your budget about a deviant group of citizens, talk to us about your allowing, via three years of backward thinking, of having our borders unpatrolled,” he added.
“The colours of crime is not yellow or white, it is not brown or black, the colour of crime has no colour, it is colourless, it affects all of us and until we get a handle on that we will be spinning top in mud.”
Deyalsingh added that the former PNM government was criticised for having a Commissioner of Police in an acting capacity for a long period of time when this Government was doing same.