PM defends approach to crime as public health emergency
The Prime Minister has defended the government's decision to approach crime as a public health emergency.
He was outlining co-operation among regional governments as one of the tangible benefits from a Caricom symposium on crime and violence in April.
Dr Rowley was responding to questions from Naparima MP Rodney Charles, who asked what benefits arose from the symposium, which Trinidad and Tobago hosted.
In his response, Rowley said given the international dynamics of gun, drug and human trafficking, regional partnerships were crucial in disrupting these criminal networks.
He argued that despite criticism from some who described the symposium as a "talk shop," it was reasonable to consider crime and violence as a public health emergency, given the harmful impact it had on society.
"TT has been at the forefront of treating this issue of the outcome of violent crime throughout our society on a sustained basis as a public health issue.
"Anything which sees every weekend, seven, eight or ten people dead...and during the week another eight, ten or 15, as is happening across the region – if any disease was having that level of deaths in our country, it would have been seen as a public health emergency.
"Interestingly enough, my colleagues would be surprised to know that exactly what has happened in TT in the last few months, including the declaration of violent crime as a public health emergency, is now being done in a number of states in the US."
"PM defends approach to crime as public health emergency"