RESPONSE: Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar kicked off debate on the budget on Friday in the Lower House. – Office of the Parliament
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has challenged the Prime Minister to fire his National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and assume the portfolio, as the country is in a state of anarchy, especially after an attack on Deputy Prisons Commissioner Sherwin Bruce outside his Barataria home on Wednesday.
During the attack, Bruce’s daughter and driver, prisoner officer Steve Phipps were shot and injured.
At a special media briefing on Thursday, Persad-Bissessar said with increases in serious crimes, including murders, home invasions, extortion, drive-by shootings, mass shootings, slaying of children, rape and robberies, Hinds had failed.
She said it is time for Dr Rowley, as Prime Minister and head of the National Security Council (NSC), “to man up,” fire Hinds and take over the National Security Ministry.
She said it would not be a novel move as other prime ministers had done it in the past when it became necessary.
Persad-Bissessar also criticised Rowley for not spending time in the budget debate to treat with crime-fighting measures.
She said he voiced no empathy for the families of loved ones who lost their lives to horrible homicides and other dastardly crimes, or to business owners who were shutting down their businesses and seeking to migrate because of extortion.
As head of the NSC, she said he was silent on what she described as an attack on the life of Bruce and its implications for law and order.
“Criminals feel emboldened and empowered, they are treating members of the protective service as a rival gang. Criminals have no fear of authority and the hopeless leadership of the MNS (Ministry of National Security) and Prime Minister as head of NSC.”
She wondered, if that was what members of the protective service faced, what was the predicament of average citizens?
Persad-Bissessar said it is for all of these reasons, Rowley should assume the position and attempt to bring crime under control. She denied any suggestion that her challenge hoped to see him fail in the role.
She said the Opposition was willing to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss crime, but his many trips abroad and his failure, to date, to provide proposals for them to overhaul, had put that plan on hold.