Prime Minister Rowley –
The Prime Minister says the Opposition does not want to see an abatement of serious criminal conduct and evidence of this, is its failure to meet and sit down for the much-touted but stalled crime talks.
Speaking at the first post Cabinet press conference for the year, on Thursday, at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Dr Rowley said, “I think the Opposition is happy that its expectations (on the worsening crime situation) has come to pass.”
He said that after President Christine Kangaloo indicated there was a willingness among parliamentarians from both sides, to meet to discuss crime, he selected a four-member team led by Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, to represent the Government at these crime talks.
What happened then, Rowley said, was a failure by the Opposition to form its team and sit down to discuss crime, on the basis that the prime minister was not in the team led by Armour.
“The PNM named a team but there was no response from the UNC on their team. The AG wrote to the Opposition Leader saying the government is ready to meet with her team. But we got no response except attacks on members of the government’s team. Nothing has happened,” Rowley said.
He said that in the face of the stalled crime talks, the United National Congress (UNC) held its own public crime talks – on Monday at the La Joya auditorium in St Joseph – where one of the solutions proffered was a State of Emergency (SoE).
“If that was your solution, then we didn’t need crime talks. You could have said that long before.”
Rowley reminded that when the UNC was in power, an SoE was instituted to fight crime “and you would have seen the abject failure of that SoE to tackle crime.”
He also said TT witnessed a crippling of its economy during the covid19 pandemic lockdown, “where the Government had to feed people who couldn’t feed themselves.”
He said the UNC is calling on the Government to institute an SoE, “to fight crime, and what they are prescribing is that we handcuff and manacle the local economy with a failed crime approach.”
(This is a developing story and will be updated when further information comes to hand.)