NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner is calling on parents to take their children back to the churches, temples and mosques as a way of dealing with the crime situation.
He says too many people expect him to be a magician and solve crime with the wave of a wand, when the responsibility lies with every citizen embarking on a collective effort.
Warner was speaking yesterday at a function hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service's Morvant Youth Club, at the Morvant Fire Station.
He said to the gathering that parents, especially fathers, must recognise they cannot abdicate their responsibility to their children.
"We ask ourselves what is the reason for this whirlwind of crime that we are reaping today? We ask ourselves how did this happen? We ask ourselves where did all this crime come from?" Warner said.
"I was at a mosque in Endeavour (Chaguanas) yesterday evening with some imams and speaking to a group of Muslim people, and they were asking me for more police posts and more joint patrols. This is in my constituency and I promised them I would do the best I can.
"But I said to them that if I give to them a police post on every doorstep (and) if I give them joint patrols in every other backyard, that would not be the answer. I told them that the answer lies in the homes, in the schools, in the parents. I told the imams that the children must be made to understand that there is value in religion. I said bring back the children to the mosque, imam. I say bring them back to the temples and the churches."
Speaking with reporters moments before the function started, Warner said he is saddened over the "wanton waste of lives", as the Police Service continues to deal with the spiralling murder rate.
"There is no magic wand that anyone could wave in this country to stop crime altogether or even murders. I continue to say that we shall do our utmost and, for the time being, I give the assurance once again that we shall eventually have it under control. I remain the eternal optimist in the fight against crime."
Warner said there has been a migration of criminal activity from so-called hotspot areas to other parts of the country. He said this is as a result of the intensification of security measures being put in place in those hotspot areas.
"If you observe the trend, whenever you lock down hotspots in particular, then these criminals move outside these hotspots and move somewhere else. And, therefore, one of the things you see is that when these hotspots are on lock-down, there is an exodus.
"I would also tell you too that the anti-gang legislation is now in full force. Nine gang leaders, so far, are in prison. Don't ask me who they are, their names and so on, but I will tell you that many more gang leaders shall also be in prison."