“Special problems require special responses”, and as such $100 million is to be given to the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) to hire soldiers and undertake a “special intervention” to fight crime in certain communities.
The announcement was made on Thursday night by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Speaking at the People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting in San Juan, the Prime Minister said he will ask Finance Minister Colm Imbert to make this $100 million available to the TTDF.
He said: “Special problems require special responses. And I will tell you as I continue to examine my responsibility as Prime Minister, I have now come to the conclusion that we need special intervention in some of those communities that are nurseries for criminal conduct.
“In those communities that you will see named in the very near future, I will instruct the Minister of Finance to identify immediately $100 million to go inside those communities and do what is not being done because criminals in there have taken control of those streets and those houses and are making it difficult for Government services to go in there and give some people an opportunity for a decent life.”
Rowley noted that earlier in the meeting National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds had said that Government agencies went into a community and a “miscreant” indicated that he did not want any street lights there.
“Well, there will be light because the money we will make available as I am describing here will be made available to the Defence Force leadership to retain and to hire reserve officers or retired officers and recruits to go into those communities and ensure that what has to be built is built, where security has to be on the street is there and where people can rely on them and not on the local don who believe that they are somehow bigger than the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” the Prime Minister said.
He recalled that 15 years ago he was in the Parliament when there was a budget for a programme of affirmative action to treat with young men in urban areas who had begun to drift into criminality.
The United National Congress (UNC), he said, objected to this saying it was “discrimination” and this caused the PNM to shy away from the initiative and they told the country that what was in the budget document was a “misprint” and he was accused of racism.
“Well the chickens have come home to roost,” Rowley said, noting that a boy who was born then would be 15 years old today and those who were ten at that time would 25 years of age now.
The Prime Minister said he will not take any objection from the Opposition over this $100 million initiative to go into the communities.