People have spoken with a clear voice Government will respond
By Shaliza Hassanali
PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning announced yesterday that Cabinet had approved the establishment of a non-partisan National Crime and Justice Commission to deal specifically with law enforcement and the justice system.
A national biometric fingerprint data base, with the capacity to store records of each citizen from birth will also be established.
The announcement was made by Manning as he interrupted Princes Town MP Subhas Panday’s contribution on the Insurance Amendment Bill 2007 to deliver the news to the House of Representatives.
He said escalation of violent crime and anti-social behaviour constituted the most fundamental threat to economic and social development in T&T.
Among the steps taken, Manning said, were the investments in crime fighting machinery and modernisation of security forces.
“A major initiative has been launched to build a more dynamic partnership between the law-abiding citizens in communities and the police authorities, in order to deal more firmly with the threat posed by crime and violence,” the PM said.
Manning said T&T’s sustained effort to transform and modernise the security forces and the introduction of crime fighting techniques have been reasonably successful.
In the first quarter of 2007, Manning said, T&T saw a commendable reduction of 44 per cent in homicides and an overall decrease of 8.02 per cent in serious crimes when compared to the same period in 2006.
“For the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, there was a three per cent reduction in serious crime and a 26.6 per cent reduction in homicides. These are the cold facts,” he said.
Manning said by the end of the first quarter of 2007, and which constituted to another stage in the crime fighting, Cabinet on April 5 approved the staging of seven National Consultations on Crime across T&T.
The objective of the consultations, Manning explained, was to:
n Share with the public the strategies which the Government had been pursuing in crime fighting
n Update the public on the successes and continued challenges of specific anti-crime measures
n Hear the views and recommendations of the public regarding additional strategies or adjustments.
Manning insisted that the goals of the consultations were realised.
“In all seven locations, the attendance and participation of the public far exceeded all expectations. We are in no doubt that all participants emerged more enlightened from these meetings,” he said.
Manning said the experience of these consultations had confirmed the value of organising similar sessions on major issues of national concern and a commitment in this regard had already been given.
Stating that he was struck by the consensus which emerged at these consultations, Manning stressed that the problem of crime started with the failure to instil proper values in young people.
Manning argued that it was most important to ensure that there were enough opportunities for youth development so they can lead productive lives and not easily lured into a life of crime.
“The growing tendency toward deviant behaviour and the drift towards lawlessness and indiscipline among our young people were causes for concern at all meetings,” he said.
Other major issues which emerged through the consultations, Manning said, were the urgent need to halt the deterioration of family life and a national campaign aimed at improving the social value system.
Manning said the view expressed at the consultation was that rampant individualism continued to weaken the strong family bonds.
He said that it was of utmost importance that a process of implementation followed these consultations.
In light of this, Manning said, the people have spoken with a clear voice and the Government would respond.
Manning said action had now being taken as a result of the consultations.
“A report was submitted to Cabinet which elaborated on the issues emanating from the consultation and that Cabinet had approved the establishment of the National Crime and Justice Commission.
The commission, Manning said, will recommend to Cabinet the appropriate legal framework for implementation, and would seek to devise specific mechanisms to improve public confidence within the justice and law enforcement system.
Members of the National Crime and Justice Commission:
Former Appeal Court judge, Justice Lionel Jones, who will service as chairman.
Point-a-Pierre MP Gillian Lucky.
Independent Senator Dana Seetahal
Former senior magistrate George Hislop.
Now we all know that this is goin to turn out to be nought.
How many fockin times the PNM will try to fool this population with initiatives that turn out to be useless.
The next thing is why the fock dem formin Commission now when election is just around the focking corner and dey mighten even be dey. That fockin committee might just be disbanded in the next couple of months. Like they tryin to fatten somebody pocket.
Please take fockin note that lesbo Gillian is working closely with the PNM. Clearly demonstrates the COP' s alliance with the fockin PNM.