Citizens want crime-fighting results, not more rhetoric—political scientist

Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:30

“Recent rhetoric and deflection on the part of the National Security Minister is not helpful and borders on propaganda…”

That assessment from UWI political scientist, Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, as he commented on the minister's statements about deliberately orchestrated acts of terror, during yesterday's Post-Cabinet News Briefing.

Dr Ragoonath also is Chairman of the Committee for Responsible Political Behaviour.

According to Dr Ragoonath, rather than engaging in propaganda, Government needs to start delivering some real results from its various anti-crime strategies.

The UWI political scientist points out that the public is growing restless, as it waits to see government's various anti-crime strategies bear fruit.

He says Minister Stuart Young's deflection yesterday won't engender a sense of confidence in any citizen that government is on top of the crime situation.

“The majority of citizens in Trinidad and Tobago state clearly and categorically that we have too many bad boys hanging around, and the police cannot simply deal with them,” he says, “and we need to find a mechanism to deal with them—to at least remove the gangs and remove the guns.” 

He adds: “We’ve been waiting a long time for the police to step up on their game, and they have not yet done so, particularly in curbing the murder rate. If every day we lose another life, that won’t help.”

Dr Ragoonath says many citizens are beginning to re-think staying in their homeland, because they believe that government does not really care about how violent crime is hurting the ordinary man, since ministers and their families have special security protection.

“If the police commissioner can send his wife and family abroad for their own safety, does that not apply to the rest of the citizenry? And where can they go if they don't have those kinds of resources?” he asks.

Dr Ragoonath says while government is doing a balancing act between implementing its plans and satisfying citizens’ needs for safety, the crime situation seems to be worsening... And it may become a hot topic on the hustings in the 2020 General Elections.

“There is that whole issue of ethnicity—and race and ethnicity—that is going to play a part in the politics. But the question is whether or not crime will become one the major issues. If the government cannot get a handle on it, definitely, it will be a major issue,” he asserts.

Yesterday, the national security minister stated that Government won’t activate a national State of Emergency, at this time, to deal with the worsening crime crisis.

The UWI political scientist observes that Government may have left the door open to reverse its position on the issue, by making that conditional statement.