JTUM leader Ancel Roget has described the National Crime Prevention Programme as a “sham” designed to “hoodwink” the population that government is addressing the runaway crime situation.
“That sham crime plan that they are attempting to put in place is just to hoodwink the population for yet another time or to appease the population not to get involved in rest and reflection on the seventh of September. Lock the borders down, prevent the guns from coming in the country, take the guns of the streets and out of the hands of the criminals and also to ensure active and aggressive prison reform. What they unveiled was just another attempt to put a veil over the eyes of this country.” He said any crime plan had to deal with the prevention and detection of crime and the rehabilitation of those people convicted of crime so that they do not come out of prison as hardened criminals.
Roget was speaking with reporters on Thursday during the third mobilisation exercise at Library Corner, San Fernando for the September 7 day of rest and reflection. The other two mobilisations took place in Arima and Chaguanas.
He also said the day of rest and reflection was not a “one off” event as other events were being planned for a later period. He declined to say what the other events would entail.
And with the main focus being the escalating crime and murder rate, he said that offshore workers were regular witnesses to illegal transactions which took place along TT’s unprotected borders.
“We have our workers who work offshore, they witness on a daily and nightly basis, transactions going on at our nation’s borders and in the offshore environment where the drugs come in, where guns come in and when you report these things nothing happens.
“Those offshore workers are being shot at. We call on the Petrotrin’s management to beef up security and the chairman, they would have removed the level of security that we had in the field and then declare a profit.
The lives of those workers, our members are at risk because they are being shot at while at work on the platforms offshore because the borders are not locked down.”
Roget said the PNM, while in Opposition, had criticised the then People’s Partnership government for cancelling the Offshore Patrol Vessels, but observed that they had done “absolutely nothing” to secure the nation’s borders.
He said the same resources which had been deployed to locate the mobile phone of a relative of a senior government official, should also be deployed to solve the large number of murder cases and find those persons who disappear without a trace in TT.
“People are missing in this country and no resources are committed to finding those persons, people are murdered and no resources are committed to detect the murderers to bring them to justice so it is a free for all unless and until it affects one of them. That will do precious little or nothing to protect the lives of the citizens when the sophisticated gun toting bandits come to your door at any hour of the day or night.”
He also called on the business community to join the labour movement in its day of rest and reflection saying the lives of their workers were also at stake as the bandits no longer took money or possessions but also lives in the process.
He also commented on the recent by-elections saying the “writing is on the wall” for the ruling party after the PNM lost the Barataria electoral district.