However, the PNM said it was very concerned that the Government has not carefully considered all of the ramifications for the country if “the ultimate step in crime-fighting” fails.
Addressing a news conference at the party’s Balisier House headquarters in Port-of-Spain, PNM chairman Franklin Khan said: “In principle we have nothing against it, but it is still unclear, because the decision has been taken so ad hoc. You announced a state of emergency without even telling the population what limited means, both in terms of geography and impact. You could be shot out there breaking a curfew that you don’t even know about.”
While expressing satisfaction that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was willing to meet with Opposition Leader and PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley to discuss ways to deal with crime in TT, Khan said the PNM believes crime should not be treated as a political matter. He said the PNM was disappointed that Persad-Bissessar did not consult with Rowley before announcing a limited state of emergency.
He also questioned the Government’s rationale in reaching this decision. Describing this measure as the Government’s trump card in the war against crime, Khan said the Government must pack its bags and go, if it fails. PNM vice-chairman Camille Robinson-Regis queried why Persad-Bissessar announced a limited state of emergency in the country on Sunday before sending the necessary correspondence to President George Maxwell Richards. “When a Government determines that they want to bring into force a state of emergency, they have to go to the President for him to agree.
Remember the armed forces are under the President of TT, and if their activity is changed, it is the President who has to agree because the President can question whether or not this is valid, whether it is needed at this time. The President should agree before the Government announces that a state of emergency is or will be in effect,” she explained.