Ria Taitt Political Editor
Monday, January 14th 2008
Government has denounced as "vigilantism" the plan of Opposition Chief Whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj to use watch groups assisted by armed private security personnel to protect communities against criminals.
Works Minister Colm Imbert yesterday claimed that Maharaj was trying to set himself up as some kind of "overlord".
Responding to Maharaj's crime plan, Imbert stated that it was "foolish".
"What powers would these private security personnel have and what law would they be operating under?" Imbert asked.
"Because private security personnel would not have police powers of arrest and so on. And therefore, by no stretch of the imagination could that be compared to the authority of the police. That is why they call it vigilantism.
"I don't see the point. That would be like a state within a state. It is the kind of thing you have in countries where you don't have the rule of law and where you have warlords."
Saying that there were such occurrences in Africa, where warlords decided who came and who went and declared the law, Imbert charged: "He (Maharaj) wants to become the overlord of some territory in Trinidad and Tobago."
Imbert said he was not taking on Maharaj, who was "on a frolic of his own" with all his allegations and plans. "He wants to be the next leader of the UNC and he is clearly trying to promote himself at the expense of Kamla Persad-Bissessar and others," the Works Minister said.
Maharaj has argued that the crime watch groups assisted by security personnel are legal and are created to protect the people and assist the Government and police in upholding the rule of law.
Responding to Maharaj's criticisms about Government's decision not to continue debate on the crime motion on Friday and instead to debate the Finance Bill, Imbert claimed that Maharaj knew that Government would have had to bring this Finance Bill in January. (See page 6)
"It is a routine measure and when the UNC was in office, the party did this five or six times," Imbert said.
Stating that the closing of the accounts was well known standard procedure, Imbert added: "So when I told him it was no surprise to him. But he said he was going to allege that Government was ducking the crime debate, so I just laughed at him."
For the first time I tend to agree wid ah cont from the PNM.
I agree that the crime plan is foolish according to Imps Bert. But what the fock yuh want the people to do cont? The niggas all yuh train running rampant in the fockin man constituency. Raping, robbing, beating fockin innocent people. At some point in time people are goin to retaliate. This is what is being done asshole, only in a structured way.
All the fockin time all yuh blamin the people for the state of crime in the country. From all yuh fockin Prime Minister to the Min of National Security to all yuh duncee fete loving CoP beggin the people to assist in the fight against crime. Now the people are responding all yuh calling it foolishness.
Look fock you eh Imps Bert and all yuh dumb ass PNM nigga mentality. If ah bandit come by me and I ha gun, ah blowing way he mudder cont.