OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE UNITED NATIONAL CONGRESS, The Official Opposition In The Republic Of Trinidad And Tobago.

Kamla Ready To Lead UNC Team To Talks

Kamla ready to lead UNC team to talks

THE United National Congress (UNC) crime-fighting plans have been publicly available for years and can work to put a dent in crime if the Government actually implements them, says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The former prime minister said she will lead the four-member team to meet with the Prime Minister and his team to hold discussions on combating the crime problem in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a telephone interview with the Express on Saturday, Persad-Bissessar said the UNC has an anti-crime plan and in the interest of the people they are willing to share that plan with the PNM to prevent the killings, the home invasions, the rapes, robberies and breakdown of law and order in society.

Persad-Bissessar said, though there are differences of opinions, the purpose of a meeting is to exchange ideas.

‘Meetings before did not really bear fruit because the Government does not have competent people helming the critical positions of the national security apparatus. We cannot rein in the crime crisis with the current Police Service Commission, Commissioner of Police, National Security Minister and Attorney General. Also, in fairness to them, we must also acknowledge that they alone are not solely responsible for managing crime but they should still be competent for their responsibilities, which they are not,’ she said.

‘I can have productive discussions with anyone. I have spoken to presidents, prime ministers and other international leaders with the same respect and understanding as I speak to the average man on the street. Everyone you interact with can potentially contribute to new ideas that will positively impact society. Concerning (National Security Minister) Fitzgerald Hinds, I don’t mean any personal disrespect to him but everyone knows he lacks the ability to helm our national security apparatus. No stakeholder has any respect for him in that role. Everyone knows that many lives could have been saved had Rowley listened years ago and selected a competent Minister of National Security,’ she added.

Misguided approach

Persad-Bissessar said the UNC’s crime-fighting plans have been publicly available for years and pointed out that during the local government election campaign the party shared many plans with the population.

‘So these are no secret to anyone and I encourage the Government to use any plan we have offered. We have supported 23 pieces of legislation in the Parliament but this Government has an inability to implement and operationalise legislation and policies,’ she said.

The UNC’s crime-fighting proposals include Stand Your Ground legislation to treat with the issue of home invasions and easier access to legal firearms for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, she said.

Persad-Bissessar said further that some of the UNC’s proposals that she spoke about previously included bail reform to address the injustices in the bail system, establishment of detention centres to house and treat with non-violent offenders, legislation for compulsory drug treatment and not incarceration to facilitate rehabilitation, support for the children of incarcerated persons, education and training opportunities for law enforcement personnel, among many others.

She said there is a ‘misguided approach’ that only punitive measures will bring down crime, but they are ignoring preventive measures.

‘All limbs of government must function properly to improve the quality of life in order for preventive measures to work effectively,’ she said.

Persad-Bissessar said the UNC implemented ‘simple things’ to help improve the quality of life for the people.

She said these included foreign-used cars, ‘dollar for dollar’, laptops for school children, illumination of recreation grounds, land for the landless, numerous training and education programmes, no VAT on a number of food items, water for all, improved roads, free kindergarten, the construction of the Couva Children’s Hospital and the opportunities to generate over 55,000 new jobs.

‘All these things directly help to relieve the pressures and stress on a society and this directly contributes as preventative crime measures. They improved family life and community life while reducing the risks of stress manifesting as violent behaviour from overburdened citizens,’ she said.

Happiness can lead to less violence

Persad-Bissessar said a fully functional government manned by competent people will lead to a ‘de-stressed population’ which in turn will create a less violent society.

‘Happy people are not inclined to violence. Therefore, I would also suggest to the Government that all their ministers should also embark on meetings with stakeholders of their respective portfolios. Meetings and consultations should not be confined to only one or two ministries directly involved in national security. Consultations, collaboration and coordination among all stakeholders in our society is the only way forward.’

She also expressed concern about the Government’s legislative agenda.

‘They also seem to bring legislation to suit their nefarious agenda of persecuting anyone who is critical of them. Looking back now we can see that they pushed through the plea-bargaining legislation solely for the purpose of getting Vincent Nelson to turn state witness after they induced him with the indemnity deal which the DPP was unaware of. They are also bringing legislation for PR purposes. We had the bail bill for years and it failed to have any impact. Further Rowley admits that the gangs are being run from inside the prison, so how does the bail bill help?’ she asked.

‘Most importantly no one has provided a shred of tangible evidence against any magistrate or judge to show that they are engaged in any illegal activity with regard to granting of bail. The government is using this bail bill as propaganda to cast aspersions of misconduct on our magistrates and judges in an attempt to deflect from the government’s failures to address the high amounts of violent crime,’ she added. 

No photo description available.

Scroll to Top