WITH murders outnumbering the days of the year to date and climbing, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has repeated her call for National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds to go.
“I think the time has come for a sensible Minister of National Security to be appointed. Hinds is incapable of doing his job,” she said at the United National Congress (UNC) virtual report meeting on Monday night.
Saying this was not a political statement, Persad-Bissessar said the ultimate responsibility of the Prime Minister and his government is to protect all citizens, regardless of political affiliation.
Government was failing in this objective.
“Your first duty is to protect the people of your country. You have miserably failed to do that.”
She reminded Dr Rowley of his own words when he was Opposition Leader, “If the Government cannot deal with crime, then the Government itself is part of the problem,” asking, “Who is the problem now? You and your Government.”
She urged civil society, businesses, labour and media to join in the call for Hinds to go.
“Today someone’s child is being murdered. Tomorrow it could be yours. Therefore, we have a collective responsibility to get Hinds out of that job.”
Noting there were 14 murders over the weekend, Persad-Bissessar said she expected the emergency news conference called on Monday by Hinds and AG Reginald Armour would have been to address the state of crime.
“Lo and behold, they come to talk about a ban on scrap iron. Murder at an all-time high, but no questions about that, no solution, no policy, no programme
“Three hundred and fifty-nine murders in 227 days. Every 15 hours someone is killed. Fourteen murders in 72-hours and Hinds and ‘Liemore’ come to talk about copper wire.
“This is the crisis they are concerned about, while thousands have died under Rowley’s watch, after they have converted all of Petrotrin in a scrapyard?”
She said UNC lawyers would review that law to ban the export of scrap metal, as she is suspicious Government would have erred in its haste to institute the ban.
“Murder is totally out of control and instead of this, Rowley chose to square off with a union leader,” she said in reference to the Prime Minister’s invitation to trade unionist Michael Annisette to meet with him to discuss women and children.
She referred to editorials in the daily newspapers expressing concern about the crime wave, while the Prime Minister is "in hiding."
“He even boycotted his own meeting,” she said referring to the meeting the PM had called last week with local government representatives.
Persad-Bissessar said while she instructed all UNC councillors to boycott it, Rowley listened to her and boycotted the meeting as well.
She dismissed the attendance by a lone UNC councillor as trivial, asking instead how many PNM councillors failed to attend.
“We all have problems, Rowley, but we don’t drop everything and go and hide. You have a job to do, and if you cannot do it, get out. Call the election now.”
She questioned what has happened to the public health emergency he declared crime to be; asked about the Justice Judith Jones report on child abuse; the status of investigations into the shooting death of a Venezuelan child on a vessel by the Coast Guard; and an update on the commission of enquiry into the divers who died while working on a state-owned facility at Pointe-a-Pierre.