'Politicians must watch their words'
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, the country's biggest business group, said yesterday politicians needed to be mindful of the impact their statements could have on the country's international image.
The group said it was "deeply concerned" by National Security Minister Jack Warner's statement on Tuesday that crime statistics should not be revealed to the media, as an interim measure for curbing crime.
"We, however, commend acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams for quickly restoring the balance between the constitutional power of the Minister of National Security to direct Government policy and the Commissioner's statutory power to manage and operate the Police Service, through his confirmation of the legal right of all to these statistics," the Chamber said.
Williams told reporters on Wednesday that the Police Service had a legal obligation to provide crime statistics to the public.
"The Chamber also welcomes the very timely concurrence by the Police Service Commission with the views expressed by the Commissioner. The response of these is critical in maintaining the expected openness, transparency and accountability required at this time. The ability of citizens to receive and have access to information plays an important role in citizen awareness and holding public office holders to account," the group said in a statement.
The Chamber said it agreed with Warner that sensitive information concerning murders should not be allowed to be used for the purposes of sensationalism, as this may ultimately cause a negative and perhaps distorted view of the extent and nature of the crime situation in the country.