Crime continues unabated with 1,000 lives lost even though government has spent over $17 billion on safety and national security over the past two year, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said.
From January 1, to September 16, she said, 343 murders were committed, an increase of 13 for the same period last year and this does not include persons reported missing.
Responding to Minister of Finance Colm Imbert’s budget presentation on Monday, Persad-Bissessar yesterday said, “Let us not forget in fiscal 2015-2016 this Government spent in excess of ten billion dollars on national security. This Government has spent $17 billion on national security in two years and not a single person in this country is safer today.
Every family, she said, lives in fear and 1,000 lives have been lost in the past two years. “And yet you come to tell the country, ‘we could make it if we try’. Go and tell that to the families who have lost loved ones and the countless who have been raped, robbed, kidnapped and brutalized,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“People are no longer prisoners in their homes. They are now becoming victims and statistics in their homes. Our homes have now become the new hunting ground and killing fields for criminals.” While no one is spared the wrath of criminals, she said, “Government has proven to be hopeless, helpless and bankrupt of any solution to give comfort to citizens.”
Government’s plans, she said, will ensure only criminals feel secure and protected, as they always have felt, whenever the PNM is in power and women, children and elderly will continue to face the criminals’ brutality. Businessmen will continue to be targets of criminals and hard-working and honest citizens will continue to be raped, robbed and kidnapped.
The fear that people experience each day when they leave and enter their homes, she said, “will continue unabated because the Government simply does not care.
She listed the People’s Partnership success in crime fighting including the Community Comfort Patrol Programme established in 2014 which was disbanded by this government. Reflecting on crime as seen in statistics, Persad-Bissessar said, “we can understand why not a single statistic was presented by the minister (Imbert).”
She listed a number of Government’s broken promises including its ten-point crime plan, none of which has been implemented. With its current allocation of $6.23 billion, she called on government to immediately establish a special unit to detect and prosecute corrupt officers in the protective services.
She called on government to take immediate steps to repeal and replace the Justice Protection Act to provide a comprehensive, workable and well-resourced witness protection programme, to resource the Judiciary, the Magistracy and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, fully resource the Forensic Science Centre and take steps to establish a National Forensic Science Institute in collaboration with the University of the West Indies.