DON’T give up on TT, implored Minister of National Security Start Young, speaking publicly on Tuesday after eight murders within 48 hours including playwright/actor Raymond Choo Kong.
At the launch of the Barataria Community Library, Young picked up on the nation’s angst, particularly over Choo King.
“To those out there, don’t go into despair and lose hope.”
Asked if Government would bring a state of emergency (SOE) against crime, he replied, “No. Absolutely not.” He said not even any limited SOE could be called in certain areas. “That doesn’t exist.”
Young refuted Opposition claims that TT had the world’s sixth worst murder rate, saying the web-site cited by Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie was bogus and a social media experiment by a Swede. “Check your facts first!” he urged, hitting the “disheartening and disingenuous” claims.
“I’m not saying we don’t have issues with crime but we certainly aren’t anywhere near that what is being suggested.”
Asked what is next, he said pressure can curb crime but must be sustained.
“We could very soon look forward to some changes in the police service, to better use the resources we have.” He expected much from new joint patrols between soldiers and police. “We have also been gathering a lot more intelligence.” He said anti-gang legislation should yield results by month-end.
“Again, I’m asking the citizens to put pressure on the politicians to support what we are doing with amendments to the Firearms Bill. It is a deterrent.”
He said citizens support his view on punishing gunmen with prison for a second offence. “For a third offence it is life imprisonment. That is going to make people stop in their tracks.”
Saying Police Commissioner Gary Griffith knows who are the gang hit men, Young said, “Once there’s a murder, we’ll just pull in the shooters.”
He scoffed at the UNC’s crime plans espoused on Monday night.
"While the UNC was in office criminals got public contracts, while the SOE was a complete waste of time, costing taxpayers millions of dollars."
Speaking of an initiative to introduce libraries into TT prisons, Young said books in prisons could help inmate rehabilitation.
“Books are just one of the tools. There is no 'one solution' for crime or rehabilitation.” Journalist Debbie Jacob will co-ordinate the prison book system, he said. Young said he recently got Cabinet’s nod for more prison psychologists, even as people like Vision on Mission's Wayne Chance did great work.
Lamenting eight murders in 24 hours, Young promised several initiatives listed by the Police Commissioner. There are some we can’t speak about otherwise we’d lose the effectiveness of them.”