THE TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce said this country is in a "crisis of crime" and urgent action is needed.
In a statement to the media on Monday, the chamber said it is "of the opinion that the Minister of National Security (Stuart Young) in his leadership role must acknowledge that we are not just in a difficult situation, but in fact in a crisis regarding crime, and we do not have the luxury of time to deal with it."
The chamber said the present state of affairs dictated that urgent action must be taken now.
"The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, despite its best efforts, does not by itself have the capacity to deal with the crime situation, and other arms of the security infrastructure must be mobilised."
The chamber also said it recognised Young's reference to technology in the fight against crime. It said it fully supports a strong presence of security forces in high-crime areas, noting the law provides for the Defence Force “to cooperate with and assist the civil power in maintaining law and order,” and “to assist the civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster.”
"We thank the minister for his commitment with regard to upping the collaborations between the police and the Defence Force, and trust that this is part of an overall plan and strategy that is being executed on a sustained basis."
The chamber also listed a number of options that need to be considered to deal with the situation:
* Circulate in the media, at every police station and all police posts, a list of the most wanted criminals in the country. This should be published in the media;
* A crime crisis team reviewing the deployment of all the security resources of the country;
* Seek assistance from our Caricom partners who have successfully reduced similar crime upsurges in their own country;
* International experts who can be brought in to support the crime-fighting effort;
* To maintain public confidence, communication to the public about crime-fighting strategies (taking into consideration national security confidence) with metrics that show their success/failure;
* And, ensuring that the technology infrastructure, (drones, air support, digital fingerprinting, the CCTV cameras with facial recognition, the National Operations Centre et cetera) are fully operational and utilised.
"While we are in a difficult situation, it can be solved if the Government accepts the reality, and makes solving/reducing crime a priority. The minister has signalled his intention to meet with chambers of commerce and other stakeholders, and we look forward to a meeting as soon as possible. The TT Chamber remains committed to fully support and collaborate with all legitimate agencies in the fight against crime. Saving our country from this spiralling crime is critical to our citizens and visitors well-being, and the preservation of our very way of life."