Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ryan in the dark on ‘crime report’

Govt yet to act on recommendations after ten months...

Almost ten months after hand­ing over the controversial “crime report” to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, political scientist Dr Selwyn Ryan has said he is in the dark as to whether the recom­mendations of the reports are being implemented. 

The 436-page report, titled “No Time to Quit: Engaging Youth At Risk”, was laid in the House of Rep­re­senta­tives by the Prime Minister on March 22, 2013.

And while there has been no public pronouncement from the Government on the status of the report, even as the crime rate escalates daily—with 32 murders so far for the year—Ryan said nobody from the Government has spoken with him or his team who authored the report. 

“I have had no communication what­soever from anyone in an official position on this matter since we sub­mitted. So like you, I don’t know what has happened since,” Ryan told the Sunday Express last week. 

Earlier this month, interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP)

Jack Warner placed a question on the

Order Paper to Persad-Bissessar, ask­ing her to indicate the quantity of

money paid by the State to each mem­­-

ber of the Ryan Committee and to also

indicate which of the recom­menda­tions have been implemented, and which have not.

The detailed report was laid in Par­liament while Warner was still national security minister. Warner resigned from the Cabinet on April 20 last year. 

The question was due to be an­swered last Friday but because of insuf­-

ficient time, it was not, the Sunday Express learned.

The Sunday Express was informed, however, the Government has been quiet­ly implementing some of the mea­sures. 

A well-placed source said: “The report has been digested and pieced out to the various ministries to look at the recommendations and to imple­ment them in their own areas, as well as to intensify our work in areas that we already started.”

The Sunday Express also learned ex-Caroni Ltd workers, who were vic­tims of joblessness and economic depression following the closure of

the sugar factory, are receiving some

attention, consistent with the recom­mendations of the report. 

In its executive summary, the Ryan Committee noted, “The propensity to crime resulted from certain conditions including broken and dysfunctional families, juvenile delinquency, peer

rejection, failure or disruptive behavi­our at school, gang membership and incarceration.

This is matched by the availability of drugs, numerous opportunities for young men to gravitate to crime as an easy but dangerous way to earn a living, and a marked change in societal values over the last six decades since the promise of independence.”

It suggested the solutions require a commitment to short-term actions, coupled with sustained, long-term pro­grammes. 

“They (the solutions) speak to the

need for integrated governance, com­munity empowerment, a compre­hen­sive youth-development policy and a social contract that espouses poverty eradication, adequate housing, an improved education system, fami­ly support, health and wellness, and en­-

riching leisure and creative activities.”

The report found young Afro-Trini­dadian men in hotspot communities were more predisposed to being caught in the criminal world of illegal drugs, guns and violent crime if some­thing were not done to curb the problem.

As well, it spoke of the need for

reform of the police and prison sys­tems

and the establishment of a Nation­al Service Scheme.

As it relates to the drug crisis and crime, the committee recommended the Ministry of National Security should diligently pursue white-collar criminals from all sectors of the socie­ty, including law enforcement officials.

It also recommended: “Laws should

be instituted to deal with cam­paign financing—and more resources be deployed for fighting corruption, mon­-

ey laundering and embezzlement, and

checks and balances instituted to keep

high-ranking officials, including politi­cians, in line.” 

National Security Minister Gary Grif­fith would not comment on what

recommendations have been imple­men­ted under his ministry, saying he would “prefer if the Prime Minister re­sponded to any questions about that”.