By Stephen Kangal
February 19, 2007
The national community must show its outrage on the post -Cabinet uttering made by Minister Valley on the crime situation and widely reported in the media on Thursday 24 January. After the Manning Administration has led many citizens without any protection into the valley of the shadow of untimely and premature death and rampant crime that also potentially threatens each one of us, Minister Valley repeats the insensitivity of his Prime Minister and proceeds to justify our spiraling crime pandemic as being part of a “global event”. It has nothing to do, according to him, with the total failure of his Government to guarantee our life, liberty, the security of the person and our hard-earned property. For him crime, like inflation, is a feature of the global village of which T&T is a part. It is externally determined.
For him crime is not affecting business when the costs of running and conducting business have skyrocketed because of the security costs have to be factored into the operational expenditures. Does he not know, as revealed by the Transparency International Survey that foreign investors have to increase the cost estimates and bids for doing business in T&T because of having to pay hefty kickbacks to PNM Ministers?
We are not “worst off” today even though PNM councillors and police officers are being gunned down in their own castles and murders reached over 350 last year. Business families and the entrepreneurial class are migrating. In fact whenever a Cabinet Minister trivialises crime there follows a deluge of murders and mayhem. The criminals seem to be taking their cue from the PNM Administration.
The next day Minister Valley attended the Chamber of Commerce Dinner where both Arthur Lok Jack and the Chamber President Ian Welch emphasised the enormity of the crime problem facing members of the Chamber. I saw him cringe in embarrassment for his Thursday faux pas.
Imagine that the country was experiencing a nation-wide shut down, business is being adversely affected, Mr Ishmael was arrested the previous night, and according to Valley Cabinet did not discuss this urgent public issue. What can be more important for Cabinet?
Has Cabinet abdicated its contract to govern the people of T&T effectively and is more concerned with spin and excuses.
In fact two members of the Opposition raised the issue of the arrest of Mr. Ishmael in Parliament as a matter that was so urgent and pressing that they moved the adjournment of the business of the House to merit a Parliamentary debate. Valley did not and pretended not to know the name of the principal activist. Was this intentional and intended to show disrespect to Mr. Ishmael? Does Valley have any credibility left and does he inspire any confidence in us?
Valley has to make up his mind because in one breath he is saying that crime is a “global event”. That we are not worst off today and in the next he said that was a “national scourge”. Is he saying that there are no local socio-economic conditions that are breeding the crime pandemic? Is he trying to absolve the Government and the police from blame? The PNM is living in a state of permanent denial for all the ills that beset T&T.
What country similar to T&T did Valley have in mind when he spoke of crime in T&T being part of the “global event”? Are foreigners committing the crimes in T&T or are the crimes a part of a global terrorist plot? In fact crime is declining in the rest of the developed world.
If we wanted evidence of the glaring lack of the political will and ineptitude of the PNM to confront the crime epidemic, Valley by his babbling incoherence, contradictions and shall I say sheer stupidity, has unwittingly provided it. Sometimes I believe that Ministers are speaking exclusively to their fast dwindling 28% PNM support base and not the rest of T&T because of the amount of crap that passes for intelligence amongst the PNM faithful.
Do Ministers really believe that we are all fools? Does Valley not know that he cannot fool all the people all the time?