With Monday night murder of Rondell Campbell, 30, of Mason Hall/Les Coteaux Road, bringing to ten the murders recorded in Tobago for the year so far, acting Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance Joel Jack is wishing for a crime free island.
“I would love a crime free Tobago from all vantage points, serious crimes, minor crimes,” Jack said at the post Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday.
He said he has personally beefed up on security in the face of the crime threat.
“In the past, I had minimum security and we lost a dear Tobagonian, Mr Mt Pleasant (James Morris). I could remember that faithful morning when
I was (told) by a Blink service provider, ‘Mr Jack you are living on the same street as Mr Mt Pleasant, this is too close to home.’ So now I have taken precautionary measures. The only thing now that I am left to have is probably a couple big dogs.”
Recalling another experience when he awoke one morning “to the sound of about 42 rounds of gunshots again in close proximity to my street,” Jack stressed that crime in Tobago was real.
“What that means is that the society has changed and is changing and will change over the next couple of years,” he said. Advising that Tobagonians need to be vigilant, Jack also contended that “a crime free Tobago is not only the responsibility of the Tobago House of Assembly, it is our responsibility, all stakeholders, all Tobagonians, all home owners. Sometimes we see things in our community and we ignore them.”
Extending condolences to bereaved families and persons who lost loved ones this year and previous years as a result of the spate of murders in Tobago, Jack said:
“You may recall last year, I think the murder rate stood at five persons and this year we would have doubled that. We continue to work with persons the Minister of National Security and the ACP here in Tobago, Mr Garfield Moore, to see what initiatives we could put in place to reduce crime. We hold constant meetings with them; you might recall earlier this
year we would have hosted a major conference with all the heads of the security agencies here in Tobago and we continue to work on beefing up security apparatus.”
Jack praised the police for crime fighting efforts, stating that while perpetrators have been held for only one of the ten murders this year so far, he was “quite confident in the fact that a lot of the perpetrators will be brought to justice soon.”
“We are seeing really an increase in crime solving and my commendation is extended to the Minister of National Security. I have made a request to him as well during our conversations that we need to have an expansion of the CCTV unit. The commissioner here has also indicated that we will be having additional manpower in Tobago soon, especially with the completion of the Old Grange Police Station and the Roxborough Police Station.
“I think with the officers being housed in their own space we will see additional crime fighting support,” he said.
Jack also voiced concern about what he said was the intermingling and passing on of criminal skills to Tobago prisoners who are remanded at Trinidad prisons because the Scarborough Prison was too small to accommodate the numbers. He said however, “plans are in train for the
construction of a new facility. I am informed that construction should commence in the next calendar year. That project is managed by Udecott.”