Prime Minister tells citizens: Seek help not violence

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Keith Rowley addresses the media after his return from Barbados at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport on Thursday. Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

WITH an increase in violent crimes owing to un-mediated disputes, the Prime Minister is urging citizens to seek the help available to them and address their issues.

Responding to questions from the media at the executive lounge of the Piarco International Airport, on his return from Barbados, Dr Rowley said there were structures in place to help citizens settle their differences without the need for violence but it was up to them to access it.

“We do have some structure where some help is available. The appeal is to people who are experiencing difficulty is to seek help because help is available. The fact that it is available on the government’s payroll is no guarantee that persons who need it will use it and that is particularly true for family stresses.”

From April 14 to 20 there were 22 murders.

On Wednesday, acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob said the increased murders were as a result of domestic and altercation-related incidents between close friends, and relatives and is a major concern for police.

Rowley, when asked about this trend and what can be done, said “You have to keep saying, if you are experiencing that kind of difficulty, guiding you to that kind of destination, reach out for help. There is some help, some significant help. If the unit or department is overwhelmed with a demand for help then we can expand that.”

Responding to calls for the installation of CCTV cameras, Rowley said the Cabinet is in discussions to procure and repair CCTV cameras throughout the country.

On Wednesday Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal questioned why there were no cameras at Heights of Aripo particularly since the area was infamous for being a “dumping ground.”

Earlier this month National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said of the 1,796 CCTV cameras throughout Trinidad and Tobago, 1,063 were fully functional, and 733 were either not fully functional or non-functional. He added that discussions were ongoing with the necessary stakeholders in addressing the shortfall.

On Thursday Rowley said “We have cameras which are in use and require ongoing maintenance and service and upgrade. The Cabinet has already addressed those issues. With respect to the obtaining a new suite of cameras both in number and quality, the Cabinet has cleared that. It has identified funding made available for it and we are going through a procurement process.”