Kamla: Crime talks for UNC to listen, not talk

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar during the UNC’s anti-crime town hall meeting at Naparima College, San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said the anti-crime town hall meetings which the UNC is hosting are not for the party to tell the public its plans to fight crime.

She made this comment when she addressed the UNC’s second anti-crime town hall meeting at Naparima College, San Fernando on Monday night.

“There are some who are of the view that we – meaning my MPs, my senators and myself – that we should come and talk down to you, that we should come and tell you our plans.”

But Persad-Bissessar said this is not the purpose of the meetings.

That, she said, is for the UNC to get feedback from ordinary citizens and qualified people about how to deal with crime.

“Together we can take all of these suggestions and build on defence strategies and solutions to fight crime.”

UNC’s anti-crime town hall meeting at Naparima College, San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

When she announced the party’s anti-crime town hall meetings last December, Persad-Bissessar said all the suggestions and recommendations made during the meetings will be compiled into a crime action report.

Persad-Bissessar added that the UNC was holding these meetings after it failed to reach agreement with the Government about bipartisan talks to deal with crime.

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

Dr Rowley proposed several pieces of anti-crime legislation for discussion.

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

UNC’s anti-crime town hall meeting held at Naparima College, San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

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 were the other members.

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

Persad-Bissessar criticised Rowley for not planning to attend the talks, and no UNC team was nominated.

Rowley subsequently criticised the UNC, saying it was seeking to score political points and not being serious about addressing crime.