Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon said the time has come for citizens, government and law enforcement to put their differences aside and unite in the war against crime.
Elements of the NCPP were first mentioned by Rowley at a PNM convention in 2016 and again in the 2018 budget presentation last October. “The National Crime Prevention Programme is not a reactive measure, but one intended to limit future instance of crime and criminality,” Dillon said, adding that it is part of Vision 2030.
He said the NCPP reflects the dawn of a new era and will consists of an inter ministerial committee and other officers of the programme to carry out its mandate.
Dillon stated that the Government is seeking to operationalize DNA detection and testing on crime scenes, as such, officers are being trained and legislation prepared. Additionally, Electronics Monitoring Devices (bracelets) are set to come on stream as an invitation to tender is already out.
Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Kazim Hosein, said the NCPP is a collaborative effort with all arms of government. “We will work for the community, in the community and with the community.”
In fulfilling one of Government’s promises in its 2015 manifesto – the NCPP – which became Government policy, Young said the only way to tackle crime head-on was the involvement of every patriot of T&T.
“So I must register a bit of disappointment this morning on behalf of the Government of T&T, that we invited every single member of the Opposition…as a Member of Parliament and as a Senator and unfortunately they have not turned up.”
Young said Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan, who was listed as a speaker at the launch, also failed to show up.
“Citizens, crime is not about politics. And from the time we begin to politicise crime and the issues of crime and wish that the scourge of crime continues to develop in the hope that it mars a Government…and make a Government look bad you are failing your country and wider national community.”
He pleaded for all to come together to do whatever we can to tackle frontally the issue of crime.
“Don’t shirk that responsibility and duty.”
Asked after the launch if the Opposition gave a reason for not attending, Young replied, “Not that I am aware of. It’s quite unfortunate that none of them came here today on this national crime prevention programme.”
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, who was also present, said the absence of Boodhan was startling “because the MPs for that area have been crying out for the attention and specific focus of taking Chaguanas as one of the pilot projects was very targeted and intended.”
Dillon said he was aware of the challenges society faces as a result of crime.
“Crime affects all of us. There is no doubt about that. It saddens me deeply to hear the loss of life increasingly through the acts of violence, especially with the use of weapons and ammunition.”
He said crime was being perpetrated by a small group of criminals who have been “spreading fear and discord in our beloved country.”
He reiterated the call to all law-abiding citizens, police officers and the Government to unite and to reclaim T&T from those who are supportive of criminality and lawlessness.
“The time has come for all of us to put all differences of opinion aside and work together as one cohesive unit to let the criminal elements know in society that they will never get the upper hand on us. We will never surrender. As a matter of fact, failure should never be an option.”
The programme will be implemented on a phased basis and 15 community crime prevention councils, representing 14 regional corporations and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), will interface directly with communities to determine their needs and respond appropriately.
“The NCPP heralds the beginning of a new era of development and stability for our people and our country, by promoting and facilitating good order as well as transparent and accountable governance. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Among the measures implemented, Dillon said, was the strengthening of the T&T Police Service, Strategic Services Agency, Defence Force Intelligence Unit and T&T Prisons Intelligence Unit.
“Yes, the T&T Prisons Intelligence Unit, because we believe and we have found the prisons provide a great deal of intelligence…an area of intelligence which we would not normally have.”