Trini private sector groups want ‘urgent action’ to deal with crime

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) is calling for “urgent action” to be taken now to deal with the crime situation in the country.

Trinidad’s National Security Minister Stuart Young

In a statement, the private sector body said it is of the opinion that National Security Minister, Stuart Young, “in his leadership role must acknowledge that we are not just in a difficult situation, but in fact, in a crisis regarding crime and we do not have the luxury of time to deal with it.”

It said that it is of the view that “the present state of affairs dictates that urgent action must be taken now” and that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), despite its best efforts, “does not by itself have the capacity to deal with the crime situation, and other arms of the security infrastructure must be mobilised.

“We are not just in a difficult situation, but in fact, in a crisis regarding crime.”

— Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce

“We also recognise the Minister’s reference to technology in the fight against crime and endorse this. We fully support a strong presence of security forces in high-crime areas.”

International experts

So far more than 20 people have been killed since the start of the year, and last year, Trinidad and Tobago recorded more than 520 murders, surpassing the previous figure of 517 in 2018.

In its statement, the TTCIC said that the law “provides for the Defence Force “to cooperate with and assist the civil power in maintaining law and order,” and “to assist the civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster.

“We thank the Minister for his commitment with regard to upping the collaborations between the police and the defence force and trust that this is part of an overall plan and strategy that is being executed on a sustained basis.”

But the private sector group said it believes that there were several options open to the authorities to deal with the crime situation, adding that a list of the most wanted criminals should be circulated in the media, at every police station and all police posts.

The private sector grouping is calling for international experts who can be brought in to support the crime-fighting effort. It also wants the authorities to ensure that the technology infrastructure, including drones, air support, digital fingerprinting, the CCTV cameras with facial recognition, the National operations Centre among others “are fully operational and utilised.”

“While we are in a difficult situation, it can be solved if the government accepts the reality and makes solving/reducing crime a priority. The Minister has signalled his intention to meet with chambers of commerce and other stakeholders, and we look forward to a meeting as soon as possible.”