St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh said Trinidad and Tobago had become the “wild, wild West”, in which the State had to resort to offering $3.5 million bounties in order to solve crime.
Government has offered $2.5 million and Crimestoppers $1 million for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the killers of murdered senior counsel Dana Seetahal.
“That is where we have reached. The depths of despair after four years of the collective actions of this executive,” Deyalsingh said.
He was speaking in the House of Representatives on the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous) Bill. He said this country now had the characteristics of a failed state.
“A failed state is one where the judiciary is under threat and law and order refers to the judiciary. And after they kill the lawyers, they next kill the judges, and after they kill the judges, you know who they come for? Politicians. You and I,” he said.
“Did we have lawyers who represent law and order being murdered under the Patrick Manning administration? Did we have the State offering $3.5 million bounty?” he asked.
Deyalsingh said another characteristic of a failed state is the inability to control one’s borders.
Government MPs Anil Roberts and Tim Gopeesingh pointed to Manning’s dining with “community (gang) leaders” and to the bombing in Port of Spain and Deyalsingh said ex-PM Basdeo Panday hosted Muslimeen leader Abu Bakr very early in his administration.
Deyalsingh said the Attorney General boasted that he got back $1 billion from the arbitration of the OPV (offshore patrol vessel) contract which had been cancelled by this administration.
Deyalsingh said Government had dismantled every crime-fighting tool implemented under the last administration, saying it saved money. He said what is the use of that $1 billion if people are dying as the result of the dismantling of the security apparatus, of which the OPVs were to form part.
“One billion you save. Everybody talking about Dana Seetahal. What about these ordinary citizens—could the $1 billion have saved the life of Jeffron Jordan, Cassimire Khan, Krishna Ramdeen and Radhar Ramdeen, Lasana Jackson. ... One murder every 16 hours. ... Could the OPVs have helped?”
He said 2014 was the most murderous start to any year in Trinidad and Tobago, with 19 murders in one week.
Deyalsingh said while every murder is to be decried, Seetahal’s murder was a dagger at law and order.
He said when the Attorney General brought the Anti-Gang legislation, he said it was to arrest the tsunami of crime.
“Well, there was a tsunami of crime on Hamilton Holder Street. It hit the country on Sunday at 12.05. He had the Anti-Gang Bill but the tsunami still hit,” Deyalsingh said.
He said when the Attorney General brought the Bail Amendment Bill in December 2011, he said it was designed to pull the country back from the brink.
“Hello? We reach another brink last Sunday, at 12.05 on Hamilton Holder Street.”
Noting that Planning Minister Bhoe Tewarie was the first person who said the country was approaching the characteristics of a failed state during the last PNM administration, Deyalsingh said he would like to hear what the former principal of UWI, who “wrote the PP’s manifesto and who wrote its 120-day crime plan”, now had to say.