Hunter, farmer, psychologist at UNC crime talks

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo –

HUNTERS Search and Rescue Team commander Shamshudeen Ayube has said the group developed a draft plan to fight crime two years ago.

He made the disclosure during a UNC anti-crime town hall meeting at Naparima College, San Fernando, on Monday.

Ayube said the document was drafted in November 2022 and copies were sent to Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

“We can’t stop crime, but we can bring it down. Crime is everybody’s business.”

He added, “This document went to several political leaders.”

Ayube said the group was prepared to work with the police, Government and all other stakeholders to curb crime.

He was confident that that if the plan were implemented, the murder rate could be cut in half in three-four months.

Agripreneur Donny Rogers said crime was having a negative impact on agriculture. He was concerned that if crime continues to increase, a situation could be reached where no one will want to get involved in farming.

From 2017-2022, Rogers continued, there was a 50-100 per cent increase in praedial larceny. He said last year 125 dairy cows were stolen.

“Not one was recovered. No one was held.”

Rogers spoke about farmers losing thousands of pounds of crops and agricultural equipment being stolen from their farms in broad daylight.

He added that much of this was happening because the praedial larceny unit has not been given the resources it needs to function properly.

Against this background, Rogers said, “Crime is not just against farmers, but against food production.”

He added that crime is a multi-million-dollar business for many people because little attention is paid to protecting farmers and agriculture.

Rogers said he had personal experience with crime.

“I was shot in my back on a farm.”

Psychologist Dr Valini Pundit claimed the Forensic Science in St James continues to be under-resourced.

Pundit said crime continues to damage the mental health of the nation.

“The nervous system of this nation is stuck on fight-or-flight mode.”

She added that it is becoming increasingly difficult to live in TT and have a sense of peace.

Pundit, a former Congress of the People (COP) deputy leader, said if any government had been grappling with crime for ten years, it would be holding town hall meetings with the public to seek possible solutions.

“Why is it not seeking the wisdom of the people?”

Pundit thanked Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for staging the meeting.