Singh: Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force can reduce crime

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

President of Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce, Kiran Singh. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

GREATER San Fernando Chamber of Commerce president Kiran Singh said the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) can play a positive role in reducing crime in certain hotspot communities.

He made the comment in response to an announcement by the Prime Minister of a $100 million initiative that will see the TTDF being deployed in certain communities where development is stymied by crime.

Dr Rowley made the announcement at a PNM public meeting in San Juan on Thursday. On Friday, Singh welcomed the initiative.

“The Chamber has long held the view that the TTDF and its resources should be put to greater use on the streets. The misguided youths typically located in the so-called hotspots in the country need help,” he said.

Through this initiative, Singh said, “instead of grabbing a gun, a youth can grab the hand of an officer who is not there to arrest but to assist.”

He added, “The presence of army personnel can even create employment opportunities within the service. Community programmes can be initiated and operated free from the fear of the gun.”

These programmes, Singh said, can take the form of educational workshops, technical and vocational workshops and even sporting disciplines.

“Many retired persons in our society are ready, willing and able to provide tutoring and mentoring services to minors. Sporting personalities can also be utilised to inspire youngsters,” Singh said.

The chamber president said it is painfully obvious that not all children possess the necessary DNA for official schooling.

“So, instead of taking the kids out of their comfort zones, go into their neighbourhoods, their backyards as it were, and empower them with the necessary disciplines that will keep them out of trouble.”

Singh is confident that through these kinds of initiatives children “can then become positive, productive members of the community they come from.”