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Cudjoe: PM, Cabinet Must Declare Wealth

PROF Selwyn Cudjoe says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his Cabinet members must be transparent and declare their wealth from the period before they entered Government to the present.

Speaking at the Opposition Leader’s anti-crime talks at the Chaguanas Borough Corporation building on Monday, Cudjoe listed 16 crime-fighting recommendations in his presentation, “The quest for truth”.

In the recommendations, he said Government members should declare their wealth to see whether there is any correlation to crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

“In seeking to discover the truth about the escalation of crime, we should ask all our office holders, particularly the prime minister and members of his Cabinet, to declare what was their wealth and that of their immediate family in 2015, and what it is now.

“In that way we can see if crime is paying for them or not…whether their increased wealth resulted from the escalation of crime, which we say in philosophy is causal; or the increased wealth, if there was any, just happened at the same rate at which crime increased, which again in philosophy is called correlation,” he added.

Low public trust

And speaking on the need to clean up the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Cudjoe noted that on November 17, 2016, acting police commissioner Stephen Williams said the TTPS’ reputation has been tarnished by rogue elements within its ranks.

Referring to Williams’ words, “The public is vesting trust in the TTPS and we must do nothing to undermine this. Clear, decisive and timely action will be taken in every case to remove what we can describe as the rogue element from the Police Service,” Cudjoe said no one knows what has happened to this endeavour.

He said public trust in the TTPS is low, as he pointed out that the general public is afraid to provide the police with information about crimes that take place in their communities and the criminals who commit them.

He said that tells a lot about the distrust they have for the TTPS, in that they do not feel safe in taking complaints to the police out of fear that the confidential information they give to them is likely to get back to the person about whom they complain or are likely to testify against.

“It is well known that the hands of the criminal reach out from behind prison bars to revenge those outside the prison bars to deter cooperation with the police and to exact revenge on those who ‘snitch on them’. We are not likely to curb the rising crime rate unless the public has greater trust in the Police Service. A lot of work must be done to re-establish public trust in the TTPS,” he said.

Prof Selwyn Cudjoe’s 16 point crime-fighting recommendations:

1. Declare 2024 “The Year of Crime” in which all energies, resources, and insights are directed to end the crime wave;

2. A National Statement on Crime. He cited Jamaica’s development of a National Consensus on crime;

3. Involvement of the entire community in the crime fight;

4. Investigate the crime problem—go to the communities where the people live, where they can offer their ideas freely in their own setting, speaking with one another as family;

5. Strengthening the Judiciary ;

6. Stronger enforcement mechanism—using an “iron fist” to take down gangs.

7. Parents’ responsibility. Hold parents responsible for the crimes their juvenile children commit.

8. Clean up the police force.

9. Attend to the economic needs of black youths.

10. The dignity of work—providing meaningful employment for the youth.

11. Develop a national cultural policy that speaks to the needs and aspirations of people, particularly the youth.

12. UNC’s unique contribution to the public discourse —embracing the benefits of the anti- crime talks.

13. The need for public education. Raise the educational and cultural levels of society through an increase in public education at all levels.

14. Civil discourse and respectful listening. He took issue with National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

15. Truth Is God—The anti- crime conversation. It relies on another way of seeing the world and another avenue of arriving at the truth.

16. Transparency. Ask all our office holders, particularly the prime minister and members of his Cabinet, to declare what was their wealth and that of their immediate family in 2015, and what it is now.

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