Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us


Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.


Submit news and opinion for publication


Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.


Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin

News from the Caribbean:

Back To Today's News

Commentary: Crime in Trinidad and Tobago is a PNM problem
Published on June 5, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Capil Bissoon

The escalation in crime shows no sign of abating; actually, it is getting worse.

Keith Rowley’s contention that his People’s National Movement (PNM) can “turn around” our crime situation lacks credibility if only because of the PNM’s continued facilitation of criminal activity, its abysmal record in dealing with crime, past PNM collusion with criminals, and the fact that Dr Rowley has articulated no plan whatsoever to reduce crime.

Capil Bissoon is a Trini-Canadian looking on at Trinidad and Tobago politics from a distance
Successive PNM administrations helped breed a system of dependency through programmes such as Special Works, DEWD and URP, all of which offered good money for little or no work. It was part of a system of political patronage. What’s worse, the programmes placed no emphasis on the acquisition of marketable skills like welding, plumbing and carpentry. In effect, it became an efficient machine for producing a bank of pliant voters.

The PNM actually consorted with criminals and gang leaders. It is reported they even used the Muslimeen in past general election campaigns.

Between 2002 and 2010 when Patrick Manning demitted office, there were 3,353 murders -- an average of 479 a year, with a peak of 550 in 2008. That’s an average of 1.31 murders every day for seven years.

Kidnappings during the same period reached 359 with a peak of 155 in 2007, the year Mr Manning won re-election. Yet Dr Rowley boasts the last PNM administration was able to reduce crime.

By contrast, the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration has not only reduced kidnappings to zero, but has reduced the rate of serious crimes by more than 40 percent.

What is also significant is that statistics show that when the PNM was in office, crime, especially murders, rose exponentially.

Consider these figures. In 1995 (remember, the Basdeo Panday administration began in November 1995) there were 171 murders and, for the first time, kidnappings (29 that year) became a serious issue. The Panday administration was able to steadily reduce murders to an eventual low of 93.

Once Mr Manning, the PNM and Dr Rowley took office, murders and kidnappings increased each year, peaking at 550 murders and 155 kidnappings. That is the record from which the PNM and Dr Rowley cannot escape. Today if the PNM were in power, and based entirely on projections, the annual murder rate would be 700. Do the math.

The PNM record from which Dr Rowley has not distanced himself consists of entertaining gang leaders and rewarding them with lucrative state contracts.

Crime is a PNM problem.

Dr Rowley’s contention that crime continues to be a problem because the present administration dismantled the monitoring system is without basis. The government dismantled an illegal agency and ended a systematic and illegitimate operation designed to spy on citizens, MPs, journalists and even holders of the highest offices in the land.

Dr Rowley cannot articulate a functional and workable crime plan. He cannot rely solely on criticising the present administration without coming up with a viable and better alternative.

Instead he and his PNM have voted against everything the present government has taken to Parliament to deal with crime. In spite of the total lack of support, the government continues to deal with the problem. It has introduced legislation including the Interception of Communication Act (which replaced the illegal spying arrangement); the Firearms (Amendment) Act; the Anti-Gang Act; the Trafficking in Persons Act and the Bail (Amendment) Act.

In addition, there has been an increased presence and visibility of police, CCTV came­ras at strategic locations, the introduction of a Rapid-Response Police Unit and a police Highway Patrol.

Despite Dr Rowley’s rantings on the hustings, no one believes the PNM can solve the crime challenges -- problems they created and facilitated. Further, they have abdicated any responsibility in the matter.

What is worrisome is that neither Dr Rowley nor Marlene McDonald nor Donna Cox feels they have any responsibility for confronting escalating crime in their constituencies.

Their non-action does not constitute leadership. Isn’t that an abdication of leadership?

If I was an elected PNM MP and crime was a concern in my constituency, I would feel I have a moral obligation to confront it. I would call in the youths. I would dialogue with opinion and other community leaders. I would solicit the support of pastors and recognised leaders in my constituency. I would leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problem and develop strategies to deal with it.

Not Dr Rowley and the rest of the PNM MPs; bankrupt of ideas, they myopically do not see it as their responsibility.

Their crime plan consists mainly of criticising the prime minister day-in, day-out while abdicating any responsibility in the matter and offering no alternative solutions.
Maintaining that the role of the opposition is merely to oppose is naive, simplistic and third world thinking.

The opposition is the alternative government. It is required to provide alternative ideas for taking Trinidad and Tobago forward to developed-country status.

That is why in the British constitution, the opposition is referred to as Her Majesty’s Alternative Government. It presents alternative ideas and stands ready to implement them once elected.

Not Dr Rowley’s opposition. He is absolutely and totally a Rottweiler; he barks, he frightens. Full stop.

In his world view, Rottweilers are not required to come up with innovative ideas.

Originally published by the Trinidad Express, Republished with permission
Reads: 6992

Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.


As a result of our comments feature being overtaken in recent weeks by spammers using fake email addresses, producing a large number of bounced verification emails each day, we have reluctantly decided to suspend the comments section until further notice.

User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Other Headlines:

Regional Sports: