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Saturday 17 November 2018
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PM addresses nation tonight

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Crime, the economy, fears of continued job loss and the future of State-owned Petrotrin are likely to be among the front-burner issues to be highlighted in Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s televised address to the nation, today, at 7.30pm

The Government, since assuming office in September 2015, has been criticised for its handling of crime, particularly homicides which came close to 500 last year.

And despite what Government considers to be one of their best efforts to contain the scourge - the Anti-Gang Bill - the Opposition did not support the legislation, which was debated in the House of Representatives in December but not passed. The legislation remains in abeyance.

Now, in January 2018, the country already has recorded 15 murders and it remains to be seen if Government would devise a strategy to comprehensively address crime.

The Prime Minister also will be hard-pressed to find solutions to jump-start the economy as the country grapples with the effects of the economic recession.

The downturn has triggered significant job loss in almost all sectors since it began in earnest about two years ago.

Labour leaders, who have described the lay-offs as unjust, have implored the Government to stem the wave of unemployment, saying it had dire consequences for the country’s social fabric.

This reached a head on Thursday when the union leaders gave Government a January 31 deadline to treat with simmering issues plaguing the labour sector in relation to outstanding negotiations, new legislation and high cost of living.

It was unclear yesterday whether Rowley will address the ongoing imbroglio surrounding Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

The Prime Minister has consistently maintained the separation of powers between the executive and Judiciary was in effect in this country.

Uncertainty also surrounds whether Rowley will address the perceived delay in the appointment of a substantive police commissioner.

Police Service Commission chairman Dr Marie Therese Gomes had said in October that a new top cop would have been announced by the end of 2017.

However, up to news time yesterday, an announcement still had not been made.

Among those short-listed for the position are acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams; former national security minister Gary Griffith and president of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Acting Inspector Michael Seales.

The Prime Minister may address the Government’s choice for President, retired Appeal Court judge Paula Mae Weekes.

The Opposition is expected to respond to the Government’s choice tomorrow.

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