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Former St Lucian PM hails Kamla at UNC crime talks

Former St Lucian PM hails Kamla at UNC crime talks

ST LUCIA’S Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet has called on the Trinidad and Tobago Government to take steps to commit part of its airport tax towards creating a stronger regional security system (RSS) to fight crime in the region.

He was speaking at Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s anti-crime talks at SWAHA Hindu College, Sangre Grande, last night. In 2019, Chastanet, then the St Lucia prime minister, at a Caricom meeting in Trinidad, committed that part of his country’s airport tax would go towards building a stronger regional security force.

He had called on Caricom states to chip in to fund an RSS. At the United National Congress (UNC) anti-crime talks, Chastanet renewed this call as he noted the Caribbean is battling gangs.

‘One of the first changes we must accept is that crime is no longer national. The gangs which are creating the most problems in our countries, they are regional and international networks,’ he said.

He asked how are T& T, St Lucia, St Vincent, etc, going to fight these ‘corporations of evil’.

‘They are bigger than all of us, they have more weapons and more technology than we have.’ He said when he was prime minister he supported the idea of each country allocating part of its airport tax to support the RSS.

Chastanet emphasised the need for stronger border controls as he noted that the RSS at present is not using intelligence to fight crime and there is a lack of communication. ‘And the police and the people and the criminals in those countries are laughing because they have no intelligence on the ground, who you going to fight like that?’ he said. HenotedthatTrinidadandTobago is the lead for security in Caricom. ‘I am asking them to do the right thing now, allow the tax to go through and let us fund a regional security system that is going be there to protect all of us,’ he said.

‘I want to know that the brightest and the best police officers in each one of the countries will now be working for that regional organisation,’ he added. He said he wants to know that there is an entity that can audit our own police forces and give them guidance and he wants to sleep at night knowing all borders in the region are protected.

‘The gangs are offering our young people more than we in our country are offering. That is a truth,’ he said as he spoke of the need for more opportunities to be offered to the youth. He thanked Persad- Bissessar for ‘breaking the mould’ by looking to find solutions to crime instead of casting blame.

The Opposition, he said, forms part of the Government and the people they represent must also have a voice. Chastanet announced that a collective group of the region’s opposition leaders will be formed. ‘She (Persad-Bissessar) is so visionary that we had a discourse this evening and to say that we are gong to take this voice now to the region and form a collective group of leaders of the Opposition,’ he said. He said they will ensure that the voices of the Opposition leaders’ voices are heard by Caricom, the World Bank and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and they are given a seat at the table because they represent people who did not vote for the governments.

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