Rowley: Crime affects us all
By Clint Chan Tack Friday, August 30 2013
OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said the recent spate of killings in East Port-of-Spain questions the ability of the State to properly protect its citizens and their property.
He said this underscores the point that while Trinidad and Tobago is an independent nation, its people are interdependent with an “inescapable connection between all communities” in the country and “no one must be left behind.” “We are in this together. We are the change,” he declared.
Rowley made these points in his Independence Day Message, broadcast to the nation on one television station at 8 pm. Rowley’s address was pre-recorded at Naparima College, San Fernando in the presence of an audience, applauding when he paused at well-timed moments in his speech.
On the topic of democracy, Rowley warned citizens against succumbing to a new conversation in the country where “instant gratification is the new order” and “integrity in public life is now optional.” Rowley also called for “a bold transformation” of this country’s Parliament to better protect democracy in TT.
Rowley argued that the Parliament as presently operated “is not only inadequate but a definite impediment to development of this country.”
He said while the country can be proud of many achievements during its 51 years of Independence, “there are still many underserved communities where thousands of idle, unproductive and misguided young people without sustainable jobs or a proper education, are giving away their lives to gang leaders and drug dealers every day.”
Saying this state of affairs cannot continue, Rowley advised, “We have to move beyond the prevailing despair and provide the framework of understanding and effective responses.”
“In TT we are all connected, the future of a child in East Port-of-Spain is all our future. The fear of a woman taking a taxi home to Arima, that fear of being assaulted or robbed is our fear. The pain of the wife of a store owner killed in Caroni or in Laventille is all our pain,” he declared.
He said he met two weeks ago with some citizens who were “thrown out of their homes by organised groups of gangsters and thugs” out of fear that these intruders would kill them.
“Think about losing your home of 20 years to gangsters and the State and all its agencies appear impotent to repossess your home and restore your rights,” he said.
Rowley said the solution to this and other problems facing the nation today “must start with the understanding that we are all “one people and one national community.”