NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles has called on National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds to promise the public the murder toll will not cross 600 by the end of 2022.
In his budget contribution in Parliament on Monday afternoon, Charles criticised Hinds’ approach to the increase in crime and criminality.
Charles said he isn’t convinced the government’s plans will help police effectively deal with murders and other violent crimes.
“I challenge the Minister of National Security – if he's so good if he's so competent, a manager – I challenge him in Parliament today to promise us that the murder rate will not reach 600 by the end of December this year. Promise us.”
Charles, who spoke after Hinds, was responding to the minister’s proposal on how the $5.98 billion national-security allocation would be used in the new fiscal year.
Charles charged, “He has no shame. This minister, as we speak, presides over 446 murders to date, more than in any year between 2010 and 2015.
“This minister presides over a country that is heading for...600 murders by the end of the year, and he comes here to pontificate as if he's some expert in national security.”
Despite the criticism of his crime-fighting efforts over the past months, Hinds said he remains confident he can leave a dent in the spiralling crime situation.
The ministry’s 2022-2024 plans to tackle crime and criminality will be based on public safety, operational excellence, information and communication technology, occupation health and wellness and community partnership.
He said the ministry has set out to integrate government, civil society and TT’s international partners to develop focused, innovative solutions to the country’s challenges.
Hinds also said his ministry will focus on training and enhancing operational capacity to improve crime detection and solvability rates.
“While there is always need for more resources, as a responsible sector, national security, we are committed to optimising the proposed $5.98 billion, based on disciplined expenditure and increased performance production by all aspects of national security.”
Hinds committed to using the available resources for the protection of life and property. Aside from violent crime and criminality, he identified “another three evils” affecting TT.
“Low productivity: I think Trinidad and Tobago can work more efficiently and work harder and grow the economy and achieve more and improve the quality of life for each other...”
He added corruption and complicity are the other two ills “on the part of state officials, including former cabinet ministers who are sworn to protect the public interest.”
Hinds also took a turn on the opposition for consistently damaging the reputation of the country.
“If you listen to the UNC, you will take Trinidad has gone to hell in a handbasket. But that is their mind. And that's what they want to tell the people of this country, where the people are wiser than that.
“All they do is bad-talk TT and hope it would win them votes. It didn't and they wouldn't stop.”
“We are heading north, we are not heading south, and all the major economies in this year's budget reveal that we are doing better per capita; income is improving...
"We're doing reasonably well, Not perfect, I'm not saying there are not people who are having difficulties. But all things considered, TT is doing quite well, and we have to continue to do more.”