PM bluffing about crime

Prime Minister Dr Rowley. Photo by Angelo Marcelle
Prime Minister Dr Rowley. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

THE EDITOR: When Dr Rowley spoke at the PNM 50th annual convention on Sunday, apart from trumpeting the party’s accomplishments, real and imagined, the Prime Minister helpfully gave a lot of time in his address to his main political opponents and the major problems affecting the country. Chief among the problems, according to the PM, is crime.

How the Prime Minister arrived at this lofty conclusion after seven consecutive years in charge of the nation beggars belief. Hear the PM, “The police and other security agencies are permanently engaged in crime detection and suppression, but clearly the current methods are not sufficiently robust enough to bring the level of safety and security that the population demands and deserves” (Newsday, December 5).

Anyone reading this could understandably be mistaken in thinking these words were uttered by Rowley during the general election campaign in 2015, or even 2010. Could it be that the level of safety and security that the population demands and deserves is somehow divorced from and contradicted by the State's interests in correcting the problem? The PM’s observations are as anodyne as they are generic.

That he could arrive at his party's 50th convention bereft of any strategic intent – far more for having an actual strategic plan – for crime eradication tells all two million plus Trinidadians-Tobagonians at home and abroad that the PNM cannot make the country safer – after seven years in charge.

It is one thing to acknowledge that there are many layers to our crime problem and that it will require several different approaches to replacing destructive criminal activity with productive economic activity. But it is quite another thing entirely to dumbly stare at a crime volcano during a destructive eruption and your main observation is it's quite loud and emits a pungent odour – after seven years in charge.

In this same hapless vein the PM went on, stating that “this PNM government is not prepared to give up the fight against the criminal element.” He is correct, of course, because it is not the 2022 PNM administration which has given up the fight against our criminal element in fact. So was it the 2007 PNM, or the 2002 PNM, or the 1991 PNM?

I won't waste precious column inches listing the passing parade of PNM national security ministers and their many worthless crime-fighting plans of the past 20 years, under whose watch we have endured a rising tide of crime lava.

The PM also found time to boast of the Government's social programmes to protect vulnerable groups (from crime?). But he could find no room in his remarks to explain why his administration has twice diluted the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act and has so far refused to switch on this legislation.

The latest delay has pushed the activation of the act into the long grass, if not the mangrove swamp. This procurement law, even in its diluted form, has the power to make a big difference in our fight against corruption and wastage – two of the fuel sources for crime at all levels in the country.

So please observe that when the Prime Minister talks about crime reduction and fails to talk about procurement legislation, he is probably bluffing about actually solving crime.


San Fernando


"PM bluffing about crime"

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