THE Government must do more to help local youth who are vulnerable to the lure of dangerous criminals, and youngsters of Venezuelan parentage now in TT face societal neglect that could also push them into the criminal life in years to come, warned Naparima MP Rodney Charles on Wednesday.
He was addressing a briefing at the Opposition Leader's office in Port of Spain.
Charles said institutions in Trinidad and Tobago were in bad shape, namely schools, hospitals, protective services, energy sector and the small business sector.
"People are fed up with their lives, their hopes, the quality of service they receive from the State. They see no future for themselves or their children.
"Eight years of PNM waste, mismanagement and corruption. Eight years of potholes and landslips.
"Those who can are migrating. Those who cannot leave are angry."
Charles said TT was once a paradise but now under the Keith Rowley administration now needed a bush bath.
"Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher gave the country until June to witness a reduction in the murder rate.
"June is upon us and we are yet to see this aspirational reduction. She has fallen short, and citizens of TT continue to pay for it.
"What is most frightening is the fact that neither the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security nor any of the heads of our protective services have a plan to assure us that things will be better."
Charles knocked government plans, describing local government reform as "arrant nonsense."
"Can you believe this? They intend to transform TT by some ill conceived, poorly thought-out, primary-school wisdom called local government reform."
He accused the Government of ignoring all the evils that confronted the country with regard to crime.
"These evils exist. They are being nurtured in the fertile ground of PNM laziness, ineptitude and incompetence.
"If not addressed, TT will become a failed state where gangs rule neighbourhoods, where children attend school with bulletproof vests, where human trafficking abounds, where financiers control political parties, where independent institutions are bullied into subservience and where the majority of us lose hope.
"We will become like Haiti."
He queried the independence of institutions including the media, trade unions and calypsonians.
Charles highlighted risks to TT and Venezuelan youth.
"Our schools are failing us, with unacceptable drop-out rates leading inexorably to increased crime. Our schools are failing us. There exists a drop-out rate that will produce graduates unfit for life or the workplace.
"These will become natural recruits for drug lords, human traffickers and those bent on a life of crime.
"Our school curricula must immediately be revised and made relevant to the needs of society and of our students."
Charles said one in four babies born in TT had Latino parentage, and he feared for their future if not integrated into TT society by means such asschooling.
"If left to their own devices, they will operate on the fringes of our society. In ten-15 years, a future PM will ask, why young men of Latin origin are involved in crime? Why did we not take preventative action in time?
"Just as the shift system destroyed us decades ago, so will we reap the whirlwind of ignoring the educational needs of our Venezuelan guests."
Charles urged bilingual education for Venezuelan youngsters.