Sunday, January 05, 2003

The op-ed pages in today's Express go at the T&T crime issue head-on. Get rid of Howard Chin Lee, says the editorial, "because he is so manifestly not up to the job":

The National Security Minister came into the job with no experience in ministerial office or in the demands of that particular ministry and no apparent skill necessary for success in one of the most challenging positions in government. The crime situation has quickly deteriorated and his plans, always unveiled with grandiloquence, have had absolutely no impact on the situation.

Given his obvious liabilities and few discerning assets in the job, Mr. Chin Lee started with grudging acceptance which he has failed to transform into the type of leadership required to win the war against crime. As the country cries out for leadership, it sees only an inarticulate and ineffectual Minister unable to motivate his ministry or the country.

Kirk Meighoo points out that a year after Chin Lee announced a new "zero tolerance" "order-maintenance policy" T&T has recorded its highest-ever murder rate. He then takes on attorney-general Glenda Morean, who told the Express this week that rising crime is the fault of UNC bias.

The statement was political in the worst possible way, and seemed plainly malicious, designed to score cheap, resentful political points. She elected to put a racial-political spin on the matter, blaming what she perhaps perceived as an "Indian" government for what she seems to suggest are "African" criminals.

It is a disgraceful statement, which avoids tough problems in favour of the politics of blame, coming from an unelected Minister.

Raoul Pantin probes the social problems fuelling the crisis — problems our politicians treat with platitudes.

We are very nonchalant about an unemployment rate that runs between 10 and 11 per cent, perhaps higher when you take into account what is called under-employment. An unemployment rate of 10 per cent in a United States or Britain would be regarded as a national disaster, and reason enough for the government, any government, to take drastic action.

But we have grown accustomed to high rates of unemployment, ignoring the fact that it is mostly the young who are jobless — and it mostly the young who are getting themselves involved in the kind of violent crime that nobody really seems able to do anything about.

And then there’s a new phenomenon taking hold: the hoodlum-gangster as an admired figure; the man who wields a lot of clout; the Big Man whom everybody knows is involved, up to his neck, in all kinds of criminal activity but who somehow appears to remain immune to law enforcement.

Prime Ministers are now even prepared to meet and treat with such characters, thereby adding to their status. And thereby putting us on the road to the "gangster politics" of a place like Jamaica.

And Raffique Shah defends the right of the press to report aggressively on the crime situation, despite the common claim of the "authorities" that "the media makes it worse" by running "negative" stories.

The criminal cop and the corrupt politician are both cut from the same cloth, betraying the faith people put in them. Both must be brought to justice. If the onus for exposing corrupt policemen falls on the media, we must never shirk that responsibility.

That's the story I hope our journalists will continue to pursue with all vigour: crooked cops who fatally undermine the police service's efforts to enforce the law and maintain order.

(Oh, & keep fighting down Chin Lee.)

If only we had a real parliament to debate these issues & hold this government to account....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. chin lee is really a liability and only seeks his own personal interest and not that of the people.