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

Kamla Welcomes Calls For Bipartisan Crime Talks

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar agrees with the T&T Chamber’s call for bipartisan crime talks and is open to conversations if the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers state the exact parts of the Constitution which they want reformed.

“However there are many strategies and ideas that can be implemented within the current system. Crime needs to be addressed with a multidisciplinary approach and that can be achieved within the framework of the current Constitution,” she said yesterday.

Following Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statements on national security on Tuesday, the T&T Chamber called for the bipartisan dialogue on crime and the Confederation said if constitutional reform is needed to improve the T&T Police Service (TTPS), it should be done posthaste.

Persad-Bissessar said: “I agree with them. I have made it quite clear that I will lead my team. I suggest they consider writing to the Prime Minister and asking him to attend. Further I think they should also attend the talks as they may have some ideas that can be implemented.”

She added that her team for any anti-crime talks with Government would be parliamentarians but gave no names.

Persad-Bissessar said when the UNC met with the Joint Chambers and presented some of its anti crime plans the chambers indicated they were involved in a consultative process with members and other stakeholders to develop proposals for addressing the crime situation.

“Following the meeting, the Joint Chambers committed to sharing details of their recommendations once they’ve completed their consultative process. To date the Joint Chambers haven’t provided those proposals to us,” she said

The American Chamber of Commerce independently sent the UNC very detailed proposals.

“Publicly I heard that the chamber spoke of a 100 per cent tax break for donations to the police and Crime Stoppers. In my view there’s enough money allocated to National Security in the budget annually to fund its operations,” she said.

“These businesses already pay too high taxes and are struggling with inflation and increased expenses. I believe they should not have to make donations to fund TTPS operations because they’re already paying taxes to fund. That’s very unfair to them. They should keep their money to invest and grow their businesses to create employment.”

Persad-Bissessar said the UNC also met the Confederation of Chambers last year and presented some of its plans.

“To date they as a group also haven’t presented any proposals to us. However, independently the Tunapuna Chamber through Ramon Gregorio and the Tobago Chamber through Martin George have provided proposals.

“If the Confederation states exactly and explicitly the parts of the Constitution that they want reformed, we can have a conversation on that. They need to provide specifics which I would be open to look at and work with them.”

The Opposition Leader added: “These chamber groups are filled with good hardworking people. I’m committed to working with any of them to ensure that their businesses and families are secured.”

Cudjoe for UNC crime talks

Persad-Bissessar said the UNC’s third anti-crime consultation on February 19 will be in Chaguanas and Professor Selwyn Cudjoe is scheduled to present.

“I urge the business community to send representatives as this is a forum where independent views can be expressed. All are invited to come and share their thoughts, stories, ideas and solutions,” she said.

UNC deputy leader Jearlean John said the party has been very clear, focused and steadfast with its intentions to do everything to ensure that citizens’ safety is restored.

“We’ve moved to public engagement in which all stakeholders each have an opportunity to make their case,” she said.

“The government to date hasn’t shown any willingness to engage or facilitate wider dialogue with citizens. However we’ve gone so faras to invite all of the business chambers, trade unions, heads of religion and members of the wider community to participate in our anti crime consultations.

“ o date our invitation hasn’t been accepted by any of our business leaders. Crime affects everyone, so they should give urgent reflection to their unwillingness to participate in response to such a public disorder.”

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