Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 22nd 2013 Contents Better late than never. This was
my gut reaction to the news that
government and the loyal oppo-
sition had decided last week to tackle as
a united force the out-of-control violent
crime situation plaguing our daily lives.
However, when I realised seconds later
how ground-breaking the announcement
on the news that the Prime Minister,
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley, had agreed to
meet on this the most serious issue fac-
ing the country was, I shouted for all
those who wanted to hear (in my living
room) "At last, oh my God, at last!"
Readers of this weekly space must
recall that I have been calling on
numerous occasions over the last few
years for such a collaboration to take
But with each passing day when I saw
the deadly and brutal effects of these
senseless and wanton shedding of my
fellow citizens blood, my fervent desire
for such a meeting would not materi-
alise because of the adversarial and
heavily divisive nature of our politics, I
had given up any hope of this ever
becoming a reality.
Until last week.
I have always argued that fighting
crime is not solely the mandate of the
government and especially when it is
now eating away at the society like an
extremely malignant cancer, it is imper-
ative for all hands to get on deck.
The state, the opposition, civil groups,
and citizens who are major stakeholders
in this relentless battle against these
hard-nosed criminals who would not
think twice of taking out anybody who
gets in their way, wittingly or more so,
It goes without saying too, that we are
in the grips of a battle we cannot afford
to lose and the price is exceedingly
high---our very existence.
I have often chastised the opposition
for not partnering with the government
even though they claim otherwise, in
what should be an all-out crusade to
return some measure of peace and secu-
rity to our country, making us once
more the caring community we were
not too long ago known for.
I always wondered why was it that
even though most of the crimes includ-
ing the heinous murders are being com-
mitted in areas represented in the par-
liament by the opposition People s
National Movement, these parliamentar-
ians never saw it fit to seriously work
with the government to deal with this
horrible social dilemma.
Mercifully they have seen the light
and have now indicated their willingness
to collaborate with the government in
this Herculean task of regaining our
communities from the criminals in their
ongoing rampage and who no doubt
have been empowered in no small
measure by the failure of the govern-
ment and the opposition to show a
united stand against them.
After the meeting, the PM and Dr
Rowley told the media that: "On this
issue we have common cause and we
have agreed to approach the challenge
that crime presents in a collaborative
However, this is not the time for play-
ing the blame-game and now that both
sides have seen the light they must stop
saying who is responsible and who is
It is time to take the fight to the
criminals in a manner not seen before.
I have heard some people criticising
the proposed setting up of a mobile
police post in the Duncan Street apart-
ments as a measure to contain the law-
lessness where some bold face criminals
at gunpoint are chasing legitimate ten-
ants away from their HDC dwellings.
When this information recently broke
I wondered what the hell was going on
in this country where decent citizens
living in units owned by the HDC were
being forced out and relief was not
being afforded them.
What got me even more distressed
was the fact that families reporting to
the police they were being thrown out
were told by these police they would
accompany them to their homes to
remove their valuables so the gun-toting
crooks can move into the premises.
Could you believe that?
Anyway, I have seen where the police
have held some people on this score but
our law-enforcement officers must make
a better effort at protecting innocent
citizens from situations like these when
their performance is being brought into
The fact is the nation waits for the
collaborative efforts of the PNM and the
PP administration to produce positive
results and not just more old talk.
Clevon Raphael's column returns in
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 22, 2013
We just want to live in peace
I wish to express my sympathy for the grieving
family of the 16-year-old Rasheeda Gomez, another
one of our innocent children whose life was snuffed
out.I am a resident of the area also and I live in fear of
those around. I fear for my life, my children's lives
and my friends and family.
Mr Richardson came to us last week and I pray to
god they help us. It is not easy to live in constant
fear, not able to sit outside and take the fresh air.
No matter how bad our living conditions are, we
are citizens of T&T and we would like to enjoy sit-
ting and playing outside with our children like every
I am so thankful that we are getting some relief.
People criticise the work the police are doing but
they looking in from the outside. Even some here
hate the police, but they alone know why.
Please Mr Richardson and Madam Prime Minis-
ter, please keep it up. This has to stop. Do not let the
women and children down. Make our place a peace-
ful one again. We just want to live without fear!
The Opposition finally
sees the big picture
The decision to leave behind a myopic past and
merge like minds amidst a criminal plague, is but a
good one; a decision that has been long overdue.
With the opposition leader and the Prime Minister
now coming together to hold crime talks, a brighter
tomorrow holds true.
But it should not have taken blood shedding in
East Port-of-Spain, to arouse a dormant opposition
to finally react.
Dr Rowley has only now attempted to apply mod-
esty and real concern for a country that has been
crying for these leaders to rise above political self-
ishness. Why now? Nonetheless, it is better late
The government and the PNM must work to-
gether with mature minds toward fixing a situation
affecting each and every person. Each person who
must be defined as a citizen and not as an elector
because it means anyone at any time can be killed,
robbed, maliciously assaulted or subjected to human
Let us hope and pray that we can finally now see
a solution to crime. I think that the collaborating of
these two minds would bring a unique position to
the table, one that would not only offer effective so-
lutions but effective implementation strategies.
It's Your Write
AT LAST...BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
I always wondered why was
it that even though most of
the crimes including the
heinous murders are being
committed in areas
represented in the
parliament by the
opposition People's National
parliamentarians never saw
it fit to seriously work with
the government to deal with
this horrible social dilemma.
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