Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 6th 2015 Contents 7
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
From Page 6
CRIME AND NATIONAL
Madam Speaker, reduction in crime rep-
resents the foremost demand by our citizenry.
Violent crime and criminality have hampered
our economic progress. Our institutions have
been weakened. Our citizens have become
disillusioned and our business sector has
developed an unhealthy malaise with respect
to new investments and confidence in the
economy. Our foreign direct investment flows
have been affected.
Our first priority is to establish an optimal
security apparatus, the broad elements of
which the previous PNM Administration had
put in place to bolster the nation s external
and internal defences. A review of the systems,
equipment and processes in place is now
Madam Speaker, as a general principle, safe
and secure borders are central for containing
crime and violence brought about by our
location as a major transshipment channel
for illegal drugs and weapons.
By 2003, our security agencies had become
convinced that the increasing domestic crime
rate was associated with the incidence of
threats to national security. Illegal activities
through the smuggling of drugs, arms and
ammunition within the territorial and extra-
territorial waters of Trinidad and Tobago had
The insulation of Trinidad and Tobago from
those threats was central to stemming and
containing the domestic crime rate. The then
PNM Administration moved quickly to pro-
cure naval assets that were adequate to the
requirements of the very challenging situation.
Madam Speaker, you will recall three off-
shore patrol vessels (OPVs) with Interceptor-
Craft and helicopter-launching capabilities
and six fast-patrol craft were ordered.
The final component in our architecture
for combating the incidence of crime in this
country was now in place; but in September
2010, the previous administration uncere-
moniously terminated the contract with the
supplier of the three offshore patrol vessels
(OPVs) and the six Interceptor craft. This
resulted in a heavy cost to taxpayers, with
over $500.0 million in lost costs. The so-
called arbitration victory was merely illusory,
since Trinidad and Tobago spent close to $2.0
billion on the OPV contract but only recovered
$1.3 billion, while the allegedly unsuitable
Trinidad Class OPVs are now the pride of
the Brazilian Navy.
Further, when we came into office last
month, we met a mix of naval assets hastily
ordered and delivered for public relations
purposes just before the 2015 Election not
fully outfitted, without armaments, and with-
out proper financial arrangements in place.
In local parlance, we purchased these new
vessels "on trust".
Madam Speaker, we will rebuild the security
architecture which will be adequate to the
requirements of our country. We will move
swiftly to establish a Joint Border Patrol
Agency to manage the security and integrity
of our open and vulnerable borders.
Madam Speaker, the Trinidad and Tobago
Police Service will be modernised. We will
establish a Police Management Agency with
a mandate to develop the necessary leadership
expertise, skills and professionalism.
The agency will set and maintain the ethics
and values which will underpin the profes-
sional culture of the police service. It will
also deploy strategic and scientific resources
in all areas. Within this framework, the lead-
ership of the Police Service will be secured.
We will introduce early legislation to amend
the present procedures for the appointment
of a Police Commissioner and his deputies.
Regional corporations will develop part-
nerships with the Police Service through an
inter-agency approach to combat crime. This
mechanism will be anchored on community
safety partnerships within the local govern-
ment arena and in particular, local constab-
ularies will be introduced in each local gov-
Madam Speaker, our citizens will develop
trust and confidence in the Police Service.
To advance this objective, we will establish
a Police Service Inspectorate to treat with
potential abuse of state power and any over-
reach by the Police Service in the discharge
of their duties. Quality assurance and oversight
of police operations will be subject to annual
reporting by the Inspectorate to the Parlia-
Madam Speaker, we will re-engineer the
criminal justice system. We will provide an
efficient and legitimate foundation for crime
prevention, law enforcement and the reduction
of repeat offenders.
Prison management will be strengthened
with focus on prison officer security, security
management, health services and the reha-
bilitation of offenders.
in each municipality
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