Our beloved Trinidad and Tobago is now under siege by the criminal element in a manner that is unprecedented. Everyone is a target, no matter your race, where you live, your standing in society or your religious persuasion. Nowhere in our country is safe, whether it be our homes, our schools, our streets or our places of work.
This is the result of lack of governance under the leadership of prime minister Keith Christopher Rowley and his ministers of national security Stuart Young and attorney general Faris Al-Rawi over the past four years and four months. The Rowley-led People National Movement (PNM) administration has transformed our “Sweet T&T” into a killing field where the blood of our citizens floods the lands and the criminals roam freely for their next victim.
Every morning, citizens are waking up to screaming newspaper headlines about the spiralling out-of-crime epidemic such as the Guardian’s “CRIME CRISIS, TERROR PLOT, MAYHEM,” the Express’s “CRIME CONSPIRACY, RAMPAGE,” and the Newsday’s “WE ARE ALL TARGETS.”
Under this Rowley-led PNM administration, more than 2,000 of our citizens have been murdered. The bloodshed continues unabated and when the citizens of our country think it can’t get any worse, it does. Criminality and the criminal element have always prospered under the PNM and it has prospered like never before under Rowley’s leadership. At the end of his term as prime minister his legacy, as much as he would like it to be Stollmeyers Castle, President’s House, and the Red House, his real legacy will be that more citizens of our country would have been murdered than at any other time in the history of our country. That is what Rowley will be remembered for.
The death penalty remains the mandatory sentence for persons who have committed murder. In 2013, the present attorney-general, then an opposition Senator had some choice words for the then People’s Partnership government regarding the carrying out of the sentence of death on persons who had been convicted of murder.
“The government’s statements about taking death penalty legislation to parliament stands in a vacuum of logic because the existing law makes hanging lawful for murder and treason.” He said there’s a simple way to get past the Privy Council judgment from the Pratt and Morgan case which convicted death row prisoners often use to get off.
The judgment, in this case, states a person cannot be hanged five years after his conviction. Al-Rawi said to escape the Pratt and Morgan bite, all the government has to do is take a convicted man from the High Court to the gallows in under five years. He said with sufficient resources, it can be done.
With murders at unprecedented numbers, I wonder why it is that the PNM in the last 52 months, under the leadership Rowley and attorney-general Al-Rawi did not hang one single human being convicted for murder. At present, there are 50 persons who have been convicted for murder on death row awaiting execution.
While in opposition, the present attorney-general had the audacity and temerity to describe the task of carrying out the death penalty as “simple.” He said, “with sufficient resources, it can be done”. The attorney-general must tell the country why his government has failed to devote the resources to carry out the death penalty in relation to the persons who are currently on death row and provide a measure of justice to the families of the persons that they murdered. But as the country has come to recognise there are many “simple” things that are beyond the capability and capacity of Al-Rawi.
Perhaps it is time that the attorney-general take his own advice and seek the assistance of former attorney-general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj but it is clear that it would take more than Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj to infuse competence and ability into Al-Rawi. Never in the history of our country has an individual with such limited ability held the office of attorney-general and as a country, the causality of such decisions by Rowley, has sadly been the citizenry.
The attorney-general statements, while in opposition, regarding the implementation of the death penalty highlights, more than ever, to the right-thinking people of this country that this was an opposition that was prepared to say anything and promise anything to the people of our country in their bid for power but when in power they are devoid of any record of performance in the delivery of their promises.
The Rowley-led PNM administration is undoubtedly the most incompetent, inept and unproductive government that has ever walked the corridors of power in our country and the quicker they are removed from office the better for Trinidad and Tobago.