It has been a whirlwind passage of time in recent weeks here in Trinidad and Tobago, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly now getting an edge over healthcare workers battling to flatten the curve.
Naturally, then, it may be excusable that most citizens have been preoccupied with other things on the national scene. This newspaper, however, has not overlooked the resurgence in murders and other crimes in recent weeks.
The criminal element is again targeting law-abiding individuals without fear of being apprehended, brought to justice and feeling the full brunt of the law for their transgressions. The latest most brazen attacks came over the weekend when a Chinese national; a father and his two sons; a footballer and 71-year-old grandmother were murdered in separate incidents.
What has also been disturbing about some of the recent cases of criminal activity is that they are occurring in broad daylight. Many citizens continue to implement self-imposed curfews because they are fearful of going out to conduct activity at their own leisure because over fear they may become targets.
No amount of statistic-shuffling, which the T&T Police Service often does to sidestep focus on such issues, will convince the law-abiding citizenry that crime is under control.
So the question we ask now is what are newly-minted National Security Minister Stuart Young’s plans for crime? During the recent General Election campaign, Young was not on the frontline elucidating on any of the People’s National Movement’s crime plans going forward. Indeed, unlike previous campaigns, and perhaps forced by the COVID-19 protocols in place, there was little by way of substantial discourse on the key areas of interest to citizens by the main minister in the previous Government.
But what we do know is Minister Young has been given another term by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. And unlike his previous session, Minister Young will have no excuses now for not being able to implement policies and plans to eradicate the crime problem plaguing the society. He is no longer in training as he was months ago after taking over the ministry in mid-term and must fix this growing cancer called crime.
However, Minister Young will not be alone in this mission. A critical part of what needs to be done also entails working alongside Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, the Judiciary and the T&T Police Service.
Mr Young and AG Al-Rawi must work together to bring laws that will take the criminals off the streets. Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, during her appointment on Tuesday, again pledged to support good legislature from the Government. If Mrs Persad-Bissessar holds true to her promise, then it should be an easy process to give more teeth to important anti-gang legislation seen as critical to catching the masterminds behind the criminal enterprises now operating. Of course, the work of the TTPS and Judiciary in building air-tight cases and handling court matters efficiently will be the next step to ensuring those who are caught pay the price.
But what the public requires desperately now is relief from the physical and emotional scars of crime.