GOVERNMENT’S new crime plan, the National Crime Prevention Programme, is a good public relations gimmick foisted on the nation which has seen over 300 murders committed this year and any crime plan must not be a gimmick.
So said chairman of social pressure group Building TT Ravi Ratiram who participated in a peace march through the streets of Port of Spain yesterday to honour the memory of Uber driver Christopher Mohammed who was found shot to death on the night of May 17 in St James. Uber has since discontinued its service in TT.
“We don’t want to see more talk and PR. What we want to see is action. We want to see crime being solved, we want to see the police youth clubs, the sports groups, the religious groups receive the kind of funding that is required to really make a difference. We want to seen programmes in place to help our young people,” Ratiram said.
Scores of people including Mohammed’s family and friends together with families of other murder victims gathered yesterday for the march.
Ratiram said those marching had put aside issues that usually divide them including political affiliations, to do what the country needs to bring about peace and betterment. He said one of those necessary things is investment in the youth as they are the hope for the future of the country and they are TT’s future leaders. “We are losing many of them to crime,” he said.
“We want to encourage our young people, those who are influenced or who may become influenced by the criminal sectors of society, to say, ‘you know what, this is not for me. Let me go join my friends who are into constructive development. Let me get myself in a Police Youth club, play a football game, go into a summer camp’.”
Ratiram said the point of the march is to keep Mohammed’s murder in the forefront of the authorities’ minds and to ask for justice for those who lost loved ones to crime.
“The main issue here is really having the matter solved and bringing justice for Christopher and for his family because we all see how much crime is affecting our country on a daily basis.
Former Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith echoed these sentiments. Addressing the crowd at the Hall of Justice, after the march, Hamel-Smith said darkness was trying to envelop our land and, to fight it, each individual has to be a light and then come together to dispel the darkness.
Hamel-Smith said unless we act collectively, we would fall to crime, one by one. Therefore citizens must start to make a difference in their communities and not rely on others. Citizens must stand up so that crime would not take more of a foothold in the country.