Moonilal unclear about Vieira’s crime strategy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

UNC deputy political leader and Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal says he is unclear about how the anti-crime strategy proposed by Independent Senator Anthony Vieira, SC, could reduce crime.

Moonilal is also the party’s shadow national security minister.

On Sunday, Vieira, SC, advocated the development of a national-development strategy to tackle crime.

Beyond addressing the current crime problem, Vieira said this strategy must apply diverse forms of power in an effective way to try to purposefully construct a preferred future beyond the current problem.

“Strategy is a plan of action which looks beyond crime, as opposed to ‘policy,’ which has been defined as principle in action, or as opposed to ‘tactics’ and ‘plans,’ where the focus is on individual ways and means towards a definite purpose.”

Vieira believes previous plans to deal with crime have been unsuccessful because they have a pattern of “losing sight of the forest because of the trees.”

Vieira said, “An effective crime strategy must be holistic, with clearly articulated and achievable goals. It requires us to identify and tackle the underlying problems, what needs to change and what doesn’t. “

Such a strategy must begin with the end in mind.

On Monday, Moonilal agreed there must be a multidisciplinary approach to crime reduction. But he was uncertain how the strategy proposed by Vieira would achieve this.

After reading Vieira’s strategy, Moonilal described it as “some esoteric and theoretic proclamation of principles and synchronisation of values and structure in a developmental framework. “

He needed deeper elucidation before he could deliver a verdict on the pros and cons.

From the UNC’s perspective, Moonilal said, “All of that (contents of Vieira’s strategy) sounds good – but we need to remove the PNM.”

He maintained this was fundamental to curbing crime.

“You cannot rescue without removing.”

Moonilal said under the UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition government between May 24, 2010 and September 7, 2015, “We had the lowest level of serious crime in 38 years and the murder rate was 33 per cent lower than it is now.”

He said part of the PP’s strategy for dealing with crime was economic expansion, massive investment in the productive sector, enhancing human-resource capacity and job creation.

Moonilal added,”This absorbs labour and reduces crime to an extent.”

In his strategy, Vieira identified the ability of law enforcement to “respond to events and read the mood.”

Various law enforcement agencies must be “efficient, effective and must work collaboratively in a co-ordinated manner.”

He said Government and law-enforcement agencies must work collectively with other political parties to effectively address crime in communities.

“Most citizens believe that we need less political shadow-boxing and more solutions. All must be part of the solution.”

Vieira also viewed the “ghettoisation” of different parts of Trinidad and Tobago as fuelling crime.

“The country needs leaders who will plant trees and flowers instead of sowing the seeds of discord.”