THE days of the emboldened criminals are over, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
“The order is out, unleash the dogs of war, legally and with justice upon those who seek to flog the law and create havoc,” she said at the formal opening of the $39 million Piarco Police Station.
She also said the country must remember and ask why was there such an increased crime rate whenever the People’s National Movement (PNM) was in office.
She said that while crime continues to be a major concern, her Government was committed to ensuring that every resource is provided to the police to fight the criminals.
She also reminded her audience that, under the PNM government, the murder toll had reached an alarming 550 at one year and when another Government was in office, the murder rate declined.
“And you would see when another Government came into office, there was a decline. The question is why, how is when the UNC left office there were less than 100 murders a year and by the time the former administration demitted office the homicide rate had soared to alarming 550 in the latter part of their term,” she said.
“This is consistent with our history that every time the former administration assumed office we would see these increases and we have to ask ourselves why. Was it that they were bad people, I would say no, because every citizen I think wants the best for our country,” she added.
The former PNM administration, she said, embraced gang leaders, hailing them as community leaders with whom they negotiated.
She said the PNM pumped billions into social programmes with ghost gangs led by the very gang leaders and this money was used to give the criminals more “teeth”.
Persad-Bissessar said while the murder toll has decreased under her tenure, “we are a long way off from where we need to be”.
“We are committed there should no negotiations with gangsters. There is no compromise to be made; instead we continue to invest in innovative ways to wage the toughest war on crime,” she said.