Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar is flanked by acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams and Minister of National Security Gary Griffith
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- "Completely intolerable," were the words used by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to describe the recent spike in violence and murders in Trinidad and Tobago.
She was speaking at a press conference following an emergency meeting held on Tuesday with the National Security Council (NSC). The meeting was held in an effort to outline new crime measures.
The murder toll as at January 7, 2014, stood at 19 and Persad-Bissessar said all crime fighting resources have been intensified in the fight against crime.
At the press conference the prime minister gave her assurances to make Trinidad and Tobago a safe nation once again.
She said, "I have made it clear to each member of the NSC that they would be held personally accountable for any further failure to keep the peace and protect our citizens. And so once in charge, the respective arms of the protective and security services, they must perform. No shades of grey, no excuses, no apologies. The government and people of Trinidad and Tobago are demanding results now; therefore they must see results now."
The move comes on the heels of launching the new Rapid Response Unit (RRU), which took place mere hours prior to the holding the meeting.
Persad-Bissessar, who is the chairman of the NSC, said one critical move will include recalling all police officers into active duty. "I have instructed all heads to operate at full capacity and operate based not on excuses for why something cannot be done, but with a clear plan of how all possible measures will be taken to secure the lives of our citizens"
She vowed to remain in close contact with the Council and the relevant national security authorities as these measures are rolled out. "Having given these mandates and effectively removed any room for excuses, I myself will be very closely monitoring and actively following the progress made by each arm of the protective and security services"
Persad-Bissessar added that these moves were necessary if citizens are to feel safe and secure within their own nation. She says officers have gotten specific orders to monitor domestic violence issues with increased attention.
Plans outlined are said to include dialogue with citizens on initiatives they would like government to implement to address crime.
Later on this year it is expected that government will also address this issue by strengthening legislation.