We know that by the time this is printed we may have had all the reassuring words from the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of National Security telling us about how concerned they really are, how they intend to adopt zero tolerance and leave no stone unturned as they “bring these perpetrators to justice.” Why even bother with that tired ritual? We all know that there is hardly any likelihood of an arrest being made, far less a conviction secured. The connections between the Government and their so-called Community Leaders in the east Port-of-Spain communities militate against crime suppression and meaningful lifestyles in the area.
When hundreds of millions of dollars are given to known gang leaders for petty community works, there is good reason to fight and kill for a share of that money. Although a High Court Judge has, in delivering his post trial comments, often made reference to the crime and killings emanating from the URP, the government and the police refuse to acknowledge that this might be a “cause of death.” The euphemism, “gang related” is used to hide the specific reason for so many of the killings — including that of a PNM Local Government Councillor a couple of years ago. Needless to say, that murder, too remains unresolved, making us all wonder if the true horror of the motive — that the Councillor was seeking to uncover corruption in URP awards — is the reason it remains unsolved, or even classified as URP related.
And because of this clearly laissez-faire long-term approach to the crime and killings, the situation becomes progressively worse with each passing month. The fact that there were fewer murders in 2009 than in 2008 cannot be considered a yardstick for claiming success. The openness with which murders and assassinations are taking place is a better indication of the inability of the police, or any of their special affiliates like SAUTT to do anything to stop the daring and bold-faced attacks.
Whether the motive in Belmont was drugs, revenge, URP or “silencing,” it matters not. The government had established, years ago, that they did not consider the growing crime wave to be a serious situation. Citizens’ concerns were dismissed by the assertion that all of the killings were “gang related” and did not really affect the average citizen. So to which gang did the 13-year-old child killed in Belmont yesterday belong? And what about the four-year-old child critically wounded?
But when it all spills over from the poisoned cup of gang warfare, what do we call it? When an innocent woman was shot dead in a hail of gunfire outside relatively up-market MovieTowne, the Government dismissed that too — as “collateral damage” — a chilling euphemism for murder by random mayhem. So, were 13-year-old LL Roberts, and four-year-old Zara Sylvester just another example of collateral damage?
This government has a lot to do to simply dispel the notion that crime suppression and security are “for the tourists” only. Summits, CHOGMs and Carnivals are relatively crime free, so we can look good. When “they gone” we revert to our murdering ways, under the impotent watch of the Minister of National Security.
We call upon all of the nation’s estates to come together, even without the government, to create a way out of this appalling situation. We cannot leave this to the government any more. Where will murder and mayhem strike next?