Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
Rowley - Lawlessness everywhere
The Government is charged with the responsibility to bring sustainable solutions to this continuing human tragedy and to this end we have no confidence that there is anything being pursued
The Office of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley today issued a statement in response to killings in Port of Spain on Wednesday, and to the rampant and largely unchecked criminal activity across Trinidad and Tobago.
The following is Dr Rowley's statement -
The murder toll in the country continues to rise steeply in multiple numbers on a daily basis and this continuation of these extremely violent crimes against all manner of persons bring to the fore the consequences of the lawlessness and general disregard for authorities and basic human decency which appears to be pervading every strata of this society from the Office of the Prime Minister to the unemployable gun-toting thug in the plannings of East Port of Spain .
To the families of those persons who continue to lose their loved ones, as a husband and father, I extend my deepest sympathy and direct my abiding concern for the apparent total breakdown of law and order in some communities in the nation. There can be no words measured enough or potent enough to assuage your grief. I share the feelings of all citizens who are outraged that, notwithstanding the many assurances of Government and the leadership of the Police Service, there seems to be no end in sight to this problem of unchecked and unpunished homicides, illegal gun ownership and other serious criminal activity.
The most recent tragedy of the last four persons killed in an eleven hour span ,where these teenagers had their lives brutally snuffed out even before they had properly started, moreover, one the victims was a pregnant girl that was only sixteen years old and executed in a most heartless manner.
As a citizen, a leader and a father, I am deeply concerned about the new nature of our country which our children and grandchildren are being invited to inherit. We are all responsible for where our society is today and must now be part of the solution that is so desperately needed. The Coalition Government has collapsed and stands fractured, impotent and failed before marauding criminals who currently feel embolden to violate, with impunity, the most basic tenet of the sanctity and security of the home.
I have taken note of suggestions that a “limited state of emergency” in those areas most deeply affected is a possible solution to this problem. I want to remind the nation that the last time we were offered this “limited state of emergency” it resulted in a curtailment of constitutional rights over all of Trinidad and Tobago, national curfews and a wrecking of the economy, because of a gang war in a limited geographical area.
We do have in place a Police Service and strong legislative tools designed specifically to deal with these developments.
I want to remind the Government, that a state of emergency is NOT a policing tool and in this fight against the criminal element in all its manifestations, there is no substitute for good governance from a stable Cabinet and an effective and well- motivated Police Service led by a management team which commands the respect and support of the officers and men as well as the national population.
We have established that this festering sore will not be healed by platitudes, Public Relations gimmickry and repetitive hollow speeches from telly prompters. It is now time for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to take a strong stand against this crime siege that we face. We must all make our voices heard on this matter and not accept hollow assurances from those charged with responsibility and the Government that things are getting better when in fact they are getting considerably worse.
This Government which has systematically dismantled the country’s national security apparatus, leaving us naked and apparently helpless before the criminal world, continues to abuse state power and resources offering only PR stunts informed by their own political sense of panic.
The Government is charged with the responsibility to bring sustainable solutions to this continuing human tragedy and to this end we have no confidence that there is anything being pursued which will arrest this situation and restore confidence within the beleaguered communities or in the nation as a whole.
Once again the Opposition calls on the Government to meet with us to hold in- depth discussions to see what can be done through combined effort in the Parliament and elsewhere to address this seemingly intractable problem which threatens all our citizens and must be elevated beyond partisan ineptitudes and ineffective grandstanding.