DOMA: Law-abiding citizens seen as easy targets as we fumble to address crime

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) says the feeling that we have lost control and that law-abiding citizens are running for their lives is becoming a widely discussed and accepted view among all strata of our society.

DOMA says there is a need to send a message to villains and murderers that the state is in control and that law-abiding citizens are not easy targets.

DOMA issued the following statement on Monday morning:

"In the midst of the finger pointing that has occurred following our failure to appoint a Commissioner of Police we seem to have lost sight of the fact that the resulting confusion from this non-appointment is communicating weakness and disarray to the criminals among us.
 
While the inability to conclude an appointment to this critical post is a clear indication of the failure of our chosen governance model it must not mean a failure in our resolve to protect our nation’s citizens from the misery and grief being visited on so many families and relatives of the murder victims.

State control over the process of governance is weak because of the weakness of our post-colonial governance model but this should not mean weakness in our approach to exerting control over the law and order situation in Trinidad and Tobago.
 
In the face of the gruesome crimes of murder, home invasions and burglaries there is yet another unnerving silence from various important sectors of the society – views have been expressed that the business community is operating in a warped environment within which expressions of concern about the state of our nation are either used by the opposition as spears and arrows to hurl at the Government of the day or, as reasons for the commentators to be accused of bias or hidden agendas by the Government of the day.

This situation is possibly a discouragement to expressions of concern. Whatever the cause of the silence, we must know that silence is not an appropriate response to the slaying of a teenager and hardworking men as in the triple murder in Laventille or the burglary at a temple of worship in Las Lomas or the murder of a teenager in Princess Town.
 
The feeling that we are losing control of our country and that law-abiding citizens are running for their lives is becoming a widely discussed and accepted view among all strata of our society. Such negative views are inimical to the current and future development of Trinidad and Tobago.
 
While we fumble around, blaming each other for the failure to appoint a Commissioner of Police, we have an obligation to recognize that such fumbling must not invalidate the tenure of the current Commissioner – we have a duty to support the current Commissioner of Police especially in the midst of the pandemic of crimes and to ask and insist on performance from him and all ranks of the Police Service.
 
We also feel duty bound to point out that citizens are expressing feelings of abandonment and fear in the face of the brazenness of the criminals and in this regard we wish to respectfully repeat our suggestion that consideration be given to the use of services of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment who, by their discipline, engender the respect of the community – such deployment could be in the form of joint patrols and/or in the setting up of checkpoints at various strategic intersections.
 
Until we can re-establish a period of calm we must act decisively to send a message to villains and murderers that the state is in control and that law abiding citizens are not easy targets for the boldfaced criminals of the day."

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