Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has written to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley seeking clarification on whether or not the PM will be participating in the proposed crime talks with the Opposition, stating to Dr. Rowley that:” now is not the time to take a back seat on crime. This after Dr. Rowley named the government’s team for the talks, to be led by Attorney General Reginal Amour S.C. and also comprising: Energy Minister Stuart Young, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
Persad Bissessar wrote to the PM saying: “In your letter of October 12, 2023, your attendance and participation in the proposed discussions appear to be ambiguous. It is reported that you will not be present to steer your team at the proposed talks. For the record, the terrifying crime crisis is a national emergency that requires you to demonstrate and take leadership of this initiative if the Government is serious about having genuine and meaningful discussions.”
Persad-Bissessar opined to the PM as head of the government and the National Security Council: “Now is not the time to take a back seat, I, therefore, urge you to lead the Government’s delegation at these critical talks. Please clarify and confirm whether you will be attending and leading the Government’s team, given your crucial position as Head of Government and Chairman of the National Security Council”.
The Prime Minister during his contribution to the 2024 Budget debate on Thursday, told Parliament he was looking forward to meeting with the Opposition to discuss this country’s crime problems. Persad-Bissessar however said the contents of a letter addressed to her from the Prime Minister on that very same date gave her the impression that the Prime Minister will not be in attendance.
No date has yet been set for the meeting but in his contribution to the Budget debate on Thursday, Dr Rowley confirmed that the meeting will take place following the budget debate.