Kamla calls for Hinds, CoP to be fired over crime

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kamla Persad-Bissessar – File photo

OPPOSITION leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called for National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher to be fired if action is not immediately taken to curb crime.

In a statement on Monday, Persad-Bissessar said, “The first week of 2024 has recorded 15 murders, more murders than any comparative period in recent years. The last two years, 2023 and 2022, have been the most murderous years in the country’s history, 575 and 605 homicides respectively.”

She claimed that the Prime Minister still arrogantly rejects the pleas of a terrified population and persists with his failed National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Police Commissioner Erla (Harewood) Christopher.

Persad-Bissessar was shocked that the murders which took place in the first week of this month had not provoked a single operational action or even comment from the Government.

She warned that if action is not taken immediately to remove Hinds and Harewood-Christopher from office, TT could record another year of nearly 600 or more murders.

Persad-Bissessar scoffed at comments made by Harewood-Christopher during the police’s annual interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain on Sunday.

“The Police Commissioner is once again calling on God to do her job for her. While, as citizens, many of us have faith in the divine and believe in the power of prayer, it still falls to us to do what needs to be done, as faith without action is dead.”

Persad-Bissessar reiterated the UNC’s call for the introduction of stand-your-ground laws, giving law-abiding citizens access to legal firearms and for the Government to work with the business community to use the full power of the state apparatus to end the scourge of extortions and robberies.

While reiterating that the Opposition remains open to meaningful dialogue with Government about crime, Persad-Bissessar said, “The party which I lead will not just wait for the Prime Minister to put ego aside for the sake of the country.”

She urged citizens to attend UNC’s first crime town hall meeting at the La Joya Complex, St Joseph on January 15.

Former CoP Gary Griffith, former government minister Ralph Maraj and UWI political scientist Dr Indira Rampersad will be leading the conversation at that meeting.

In an October 12 letter, Rowley wrote to Persad-Bissessar about scheduling bipartisan crime talks immediately after the budget debate in Parliament.

He proposed several pieces of anti-crime legislation for discussion.

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, was nominated as the leader of the Government’s team for the talks.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales and Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell are the other members.

On November 3, Armour wrote to Persad-Bissessar asking she nominate her team for the talks.

Persad-Bissessar criticised Rowley for not attending the talks and no UNC team was nominated.

Rowley subsequently criticised the UNC for seeking to score political points and not being serious about addressing crime.

Persad-Bissessar then announced the UNC would hold its own crime consultations without the Government.