UNC: More than a declaration needed to tackle crime

Attorney and UNC member Sean Sobers. FILE PHOTO -
Attorney and UNC member Sean Sobers. FILE PHOTO -

IT WOULD take much more than the Government declaring violence to be a public health emergency to tackle the runaway crime including armed robberies, home invasions and murder.

This was the view of Opposition UNC member Sean Sobers during the party’s weekly Sunday press conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader in Port of Spain.

Sobers, who is a temporary Opposition Senator, said the resignations of the Prime Minister as well as the National Security Minister would be a start in dealing with TT’s criminality.

On Saturday, Dr Rowley said perhaps it was time for his government to declare violence to be a public health emergency given the very high murder rate, where only this weekend alone on from Friday to Sunday, there were at least 12 murders.

In response to this, Sobers said the Rowley government has been very consistent over its seven years in office on its inability to get a handle on the country’s crime situation. He said Dr Rowley’s statements may very well have been meant to distract the public from many pressing national issues including crime.

“What has already been happening is that because the Government isn’t able to arrest the crime situation within this country, they will blame the Opposition. When that did not work, they then tried to blame other arms of TT – NGOs and civil society,” Sober said, adding that of late, even the Judiciary was being attacked.

He warned that there could be attempts to interfere with rights guaranteed under the Constitution if the Government indeed declares violence to be a public health emergency.

Sobers said the government must review and revise its national crime plan which he said has not worked over the seven years the PNM has been in power.

“We call upon the government to spend more time to better resource our police officers to improve their crime detection rate, rather than dismantling the country’s crime-fighting apparatus.

“Further effort should also be made to better resource the judiciary and the criminal justice system. So that trials are completed at a faster pace. I think these are the real tools that could assist in fighting crime within this country,” Sobers said.

He said the Opposition would be paying close attention to the election of a new Commissioner of Police given the controversies and crises that developed with recent attempts to get a replacement when Gary Griffith demitted office as Police Commissioner and did not have his contract renewed.

“We hope that this time around there will be deliberations (on the part of the Police Service Commission) without political interference.

“We are hopeful that this time around the process (to select a new top cop) will be free, fair and transparent.”


"UNC: More than a declaration needed to tackle crime"

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