Business groups disappointed with both PNM & UNC; says joint crime talks will send a stronger message

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Business groups disappointed with both PNM & UNC; says joint crime talks will send a stronger message

Both the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) and Opposition United National Congress (UNC) were taken to task on Wednesday by heads of business groups, who, like the general public, are frustrated and worried by the level of crime in the country.

At the American Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s (AMCHAM) Economic Outlook Forum 2024 at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday, AMCHAM CEO Nirad Tewarie, expressed disappointment in the country’s leaders.

Although the UNC held its own town hall meeting on anti-crime talks on Monday, Tewarie said joint crime talks will send a strong signal to law-abiding citizens and criminals alike that it will not be business as usual.

He also said it would demonstrate that as elected representatives, they are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety and security of the country.

“Of course, it’s disappointing. We expect our leaders to find ways to work together in the interest of the country. So, it is disappointing. But it’s a new year and we hope that they will put whatever issues they have aside and get together and meet toward tangible outcomes—agreements on pieces of legislation that they may need to pass, initiatives that they would like to implement and send a strong, clear and unified message to the country that we are going to do something and we are going to see our leaders doing something about crime and working together,” Tewarie said.

Meanwhile, Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) CEO Ian Chinapoo, said politicians across the divide should put country first and focus less on holding office.

“Unless we get together and get over ourselves and stop thinking about the next election, we will be thinking about what our great grandchildren are gonna be living in, or we’re gonna create a situation where we continue having brain drain,” he said.

Chinapoo also said he was disappointed that the PNM/UNC talks have been delayed.

“We don’t feel good about it. We feel that national interest should supersede any type of political, partisan behaviour and crime is a national issue. I don’t think any criminal asks your political affiliation before they rob you, or shoot you, or kill you,” Chinapoo said sarcastically.

“Hopefully, the folks that we have entrusted with our societal needs and development in terms of our politicians can get together and just get it done, man. There are issues that they have to deal with and we stand ready to be called upon.”