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...Don't blame Warner as yet

By Irene Medina and Carla Bridglal

Members of the business sector yesterday seemed reluctant to openly criticise the performance of Minister of National Security Jack Warner in tackling crime.

President of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) Gregory Aboud said it was "unfortunate for the minister (that) his is the only job that could be lost in the debacle of lawlessness that engulfs us," adding, "and therein lies the principal cause of the failure that we continue to experience in this very dangerous situation that surrounds all of us.

"If Minister Warner is to be blamed at all, it should be for having failed to recognise that his good intentions and his enthusiasm could not work the same way at the Ministry of National Security as it did at the Ministry of Works."

Aboud feels however that "ultimately, no minister can solve our crime and lawlessness using the current model of governance or the current managerial strategies".

According to him, "We must accept quickly that before it is too late, that unless changes are made in the governance and management models, that we can only expect an equal or worse situation in the years ahead."

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) Dominic Hadeed, believes that seven months was too short a time frame in which to pronounce on Warner's performance.

He said he was heartened that Warner had opted not to travel to Haiti but to stay at home to fight crime.

American Chamber of Commerce president Hugh Howard however told the Express yesterday in a telephone interview that the out-of-control crime situation can "militate" against local and foreign direct investment.

"How long can any country really survive and make any progress in this kind of environment? Something has to be done. The Prime Minister has gone to this meeting in Haiti at which there is going to be discussion about regional security, but she is not accompanied by the minister responsible for National Security," he said.

Regarding reports about the reintroduction of the Flying Squad, Howard said it was a "sickness" in Trinidad and Tobago where there are constant allegations and denials, without a proper assurance of truth.

"What bothers me is we are being faced with a number of rumours and stories, and we don't know whether there is truth in what we are hearing because there is no clarity brought to the situation.

"It is difficult for the business sector to see someone getting up, making a statement of such a nature, and you don't have some kind of clarity coming forth where if this man (Mervyn Cordner) is fabricating something, then clearly, one can come out and demonstrate that," he said.

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