PM says no to state of emergency

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says it is clear there are “people roaming on the streets who are cold-blooded killers,” but is making it clear the Government will “not concede that those who behave like this and endanger the rest of the population are to be left unattended.” He also says the Government will not use a state of emergency to deal with the escalating crime woes.

With the criminal element running rampant and the murder rate at close to 300, Rowley refused to concede that the Anti-Gang Bill, which was touted by his Government as a critical element in the fight against crime, had failed. Instead, he said “it has to be operationalised.” That means evidence must be gathered and prepared “if there are people engaged in gang activity you have to gather the evidence to prosecute them, it is an ongoing operation.”

Rowley described last Sunday’s shooting on the Boardwalk in Chaguaramas, which is in his Diego Martin West Constituency, as something “which should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”


Responding to some in his own constituency who said people in the area were being pushed into crime because of a lack of employment opportunities and other problems, including the lack of representation by Rowley, the PM said, “I am not going to make any excuses for the people who do that because all of us have challenges in this country.”

He said “for those of us who take up firearms and go to a location and determine to exterminate who they want to exterminate at the risk of everybody else, I condemn that in the strongest possible terms.”

He said it was clear there were “cold-blooded killers” roaming the streets “and to have gone to a place of that nature where they are children, there are grandparents there are adults and just fire indiscriminately, is something that ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Speaking on the CNC3 Morning Brew, the PM denied Government had lost the fight against crime despite daily growing murder and serious crime rate.

“We have not lost the fight against crime and we don’t intend to. We have to remain engaged because our lives are involved,” he said, adding it was clear that “nobody in this country is immune from the reckless behaviour of some citizens, many of whom behave like this because they have chosen crime as a way of life.”

He also dismissed calls for a state of emergency, saying, “We don’t know any state of emergency will be a reasonable response. We tried it before and it did not deal with the problem. We destroyed the economy, some of the problems we have right now started with the state of emergency.”

Source: Guardian