Express Editorial : Daily

On the grounds of anxiety, one might excuse Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh for pressing the panic button over crime in Couva.

However, the notion that Couva is somehow more disadvantaged than any other part of the country when it comes to crime is hardly credible. Just a glance at news stories over the past weeks will indicate that when it comes to crime in Trinidad and Tobago, there is no longer any demarcation between hotspots and safe spaces.

MP Indarsingh’s characterisation of Central Trinidad as a “violent criminal hotbed for murders, theft, drug trafficking…and motor vehicle theft” applies with little exception across T&T. From east, west, north, central, south, and Tobago, crime reports appear with datelines less and less familiar to many people. Over the past few days alone grievous crime stories have appeared with place names, not only in Central but Guayaguayare, La Romaine, Fitt’s Road Junction, Biche, Princes Town, Oropune, Golconda, Fyzabad, Victoria Gardens, Beetham Gardens, Carenage, Curepe, Piarco, Aranjuez..…and the list goes on.

Some places had never made national news until some ugly crime befell one or more its residents. So while one appreciates MP Indarsingh’s concern for his constituents’ safety and welfare, he should not believe that constituents of other MPs feel any more safe from crime than his. At least in the case of Couva this week, police officers were prepared to hotfoot it to the crime scene. Such alacrity to crime reports is not the response many people get when they call the police.

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One might speculate about how MP Indarsingh would have responded to the very same crime situation in Couva if his party were in office. Government MPs are notorious for their defensiveness about crime. Those in office invariably insist that the glass is half full while those in Opposition insist it is always half empty. For the rest of the population, the truth is more often to be found somewhere in the middle, between the political extremes.

The stark reality is that Trinidad and Tobago has lost control of crime. It is out there and on loose, no longer confined to predictable places or times. One is as likely to become a victim of crime while buying doubles at the side of the road on a busy street in broad daylight as one may be while walking alone along a dark, lonely road in a hotspot area. Crime is no longer a respecter of place or personality but a random act ready to strike with even the slimmest chance of success. This is why the statistical reduction of crime cannot be the sole target. What the population is desperately seeking is a sense of security in their homes, their neighbourhoods and in spaces both public and private. Our sense of security is what has been stolen from us.

In three weeks Gary Griffith will mark his first full year as Commissioner of Police. While one year is hardly enough time to judge a Commissioner’s performance it would be surprising if Commissioner Griffith is satisfied with his achievements to date, given the ambitious targets he had set himself.


IN poll after poll, year after year, Jamaicans are wont to name crime as the country’s number one problem, which is astounding, given that poverty is such a pernicious element of life here and should easily occupy that dubious distinction.

ASK any politician to choose between making a policy decision that is for the long-term good of the country and one that will get him or her elected next time around and you arrive at the raison detre for our 2020 budget.

Sometime ago before the budget presentation by the Minister of Finance I wrote an article entitled, “The race to the bottom”. This article presented a scenario for our small, open economy in which the energy sector was unable to provide the rents necessary to fund the imports required by the on-shore sector; to provide the economic activity that with Government employment, occupies some 96 per cent of the workforce.

When Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, spoke at the Spotlight on the budget event on October 10, and again on i95 Radio on Thursday gone, he repeatedly said (as I am sure he has at other fora) that the country has to go into a different mode of operating—essentially doing more with less and getting better value for money.

THE Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TTAT) recently issued a public notice that the continued broadcast by “any subscription TV broadcaster airing channels ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox must have the legal right from the copyright owner to do so”

Not too long ago, everything we needed to know was taught to us by our families, communities, elders, friends and in schools. Today, with a very changed world, much of that learning is not provided by those groups and what is provided is not geared to dealing with and thriving in our new world.