Opposition Leader renews call for Prime Minister to sack Hinds

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, left, listens to Snr Supt of the Inter-Agency Task Force Oswain Subero, right, durng a visit to the Rose Hill RC Primary School, east Port of Spain, last November. Photo by Shane Superville

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar claims 960 people have been murdered under the tenure of National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds as she renewed her calls for the Prime Minister to fire him.

In a statement on Saturday, Persad-Bissessar referred to the 22 murders in the first two weeks of 2023 and the country highest murder toll last year of 605.

She said under Hinds’ stewardship, from April 19, 2021, there have been an explosion of “violent assaults, woundings, robberies, car jackings, rapes and home invasions.”

“Last year the murder rate skyrocketed to 605, with a further 56 missing without a trace, making 2022 the deadliest year in our nation’s history. We are only 14 days into 2023 and 22 people have already been murdered,” Persad-Bissessar said.

She said Dr Rowley and Hinds have failed to produce a working and data-driven plan to tackle violent crime and restore public confidence.

“Hinds is a weak and absurd appointment that Rowley must now move on from for the good of the country.”

Persad-Bissessar described Hinds’ appointment as “weak and absurd,” asked, “What manner of man would keep on a failed minister after so many horrific murders and violent crimes purely because his fragile ego does not allow him to accept that he made a poor appointment? Or is it that in Rowley’s petty mind, he believes the Opposition, media, business, civil society and citizens who have called for Hinds’ removal will gain some sort of victory over him if Hinds is fired.”

She said this is not a matter of win or lose but about doing the right thing to protect our citizen’s lives.

“I call on Dr Keith Rowley to set aside his petty stubbornness and not allow 2023 to be even more bloody and violent than 2022. For the safety and security of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, Fitzgerald Hinds must be fired.”

In December, Rowley rejected calls for Hinds to be replaced saying that to do so would only embolden the criminals.

He countered that the murder rate was driven by easy availability of firearms, gang engagement, turf protection and revenge killings. He said while the police and other security agencies are engaged in crime detection and suppression, the current systems and methods were “not sufficiently robust to bring the level of safety and security that the population demands and deserves.”