How can Jack Warner take any bit of solace or pride in the crime statistics he recently released? A quick examination of the numbers between 2011 and 2012 show startling trends, which point toward deteriorating security and an ineffective crime-fighting operation. Here are some quick takeaways from 2012:
Murders: up 7%
Wounding/Shooting: up 6%
Sexual Offense: up 43.8%
Kidnapping: up 47.5%
Robbery: up 17%
General Larceny: up 14%
To walk away from this report with confidence in our nation’s ability to fight crime would be like walking away from Carnival thinking Trinis have lost our ability to party. Foolish and you couldn’t be further from the truth! Jack Warners knows somebody must be held accountable. As Security Minister, that person should be him.
A new article in the Guardian says Kamla’s government has initiated a smear campaign against reporters from the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express who broke a story that Jack Warner had pushed through “legal reform” protecting two “prominent UNC donors from prosecution” for money laundering.
According to the article, an email smear campaign was implemented against the two journalists and targeted their private lives. Warner reportedly accused both reporters of “having an axe to grind” and said the two “should be beyond reproach themselves.” Other UNC supporters also spoke out as well. The article says Attorney General Anand Ramlogan also accused the media of “having a bias against the UNC.”
The Guardian article says that after the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago caught wind of the government’s measures, it posted an statement on its Facebook page saying “personal attacks are not an acceptable way of discrediting the information unearthed by journalists who are simply doing their job.”
Now though, Trinidad may join the ranks of Venezuela and Ecuador in requiring “private media to carry official messages at no cost.” After the scandal involving the smear campaign, Communications Minister Mohammed said a plan was in the works to require media to “relay government messages for free every hour.”
As the murder rate hovers at 247, Jack Warner, the National Security Minister and former scandal-plagued VP of FIFA, promised citizens that a drop in crime was on the way. In a Trinidad Express article published earlier this week, “Warner promises a drop in crime,” Warner was quoted as saying “I am telling you here today, the fight against crime is coming. It will be swift. It will be visible, and believe you me, you will see a downturn sooner rather than later.”
What many will contend though is that the fight on crime should have already come, that Kamla’s SoE should have been more effective than it actually was, that the murder rate should be falling, not stagnating as it is currently. What many will contend is that our officials are behind on their job of making us safe.
According to the Express article, Warner did clarify, however, that his main job objective was keeping business owners “in business” because he understands “…the effects of crime on business activity.” Hopefully his goal of keeping business owners “in business” will translate in to a decreased murder rate too.
In a recent article by the Guardian “Debe demolition my own decision-Jack,” National Security Minister Jack Warner refuted reports stating Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar ordered him to demolish the Highway Re-route Movement’s camp to “…allow more work to resume on the $7.2 billion Point Fortin Highway,” according to the article. Instead, Warner claimed he acted completely on his own accord and resolve claiming he was prepared to take the “rise of fall that may come with the decision.” Many have expressed outrage at Warner’s actions saying giving those orders were outside the scope of his job description and saying that he overstepped his bounds.
Warner, the former Housing Minister, is no stranger to controversy, just last year he resigned his Vice President position at FIFA after bribery allegations surfaced along with strong evidence. Some argue, however, that despite these scandals Warner has remained a close ally of PM Persad-Bissessar’s who appointed him to National Security Minister less than three months ago. Whether or not Warner’s actions will result in substantial repercussions remain to be seen though one thing is for sure, Warner never fails to make waves.
After Jack Warner’s actions in tearing down the camp of the Highway Re-Route Movenment yesterday, AG Ramlogan came to his defense stating Warner had saved the country millions of dollars. Many, however, called Warner’s actions “unconstitutional” despite Ramlogan’s statements.
In a Trinidad Express article by Ria Taitt, called “AG praises Jack: He saved the country million$,” Ramlogan is quoted as saying the following:
“If Minister Warner did not go there as a representative of the Government and the people, you know what would have happened? They would have said that the army and the police were not sufficiently apprised of the religious sensitivities. Minister Warner is the one who secured the deities. It cannot be that people could decide to pitch a tent on State lands, call two babas, put up three jhandis and then say the land is consecrated. Can’t work! That is lawlessness of the highest order!”
Regarding the accusations of Warner acting unconstitutionally and breaching the separation of powers, Ramlogan said other national security ministers have done this in the past. According to Taitt he even citied the actions in the tearing down of Jamaat building of the person holding Warner’s position then saying, “the then national security minister was ‘featured prominently’ in that exercise.”
Comments on Taitts article, however, show that some of the public is not sold on Ramlogan’s reasoning, even going as far to say that he is adding embarrassment to the situation by justifying Warner’s actions.
The beginning of Jack Warner’s career as National Security Minister is said to getting off to a rough start. According to a Trinidad Express article by Ria Taitt, Warner was involved in the “destruction of the camp of the Highway Re-Route Movement in Debe and the arrest of environment activist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh, which elicited shock, disappointment, anger and consternation from many quarters, including the COP.”
Although Warner’s actions were frowned upon by some, people like Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George said they “concurred” with Warner’s decision to arrest the activisits/protestors whose camp location was said to be delaying the construction of Point Fortin Highway, which George stated is costing “millions of dollars a day” in Taitt’s article.
According to the same Trinidad Express article, Dr. Kublalsingh’s lawyer released a statement saying due process was not following in the destruction of the camp saying “This is a serious and unprecedented breach of the Constitution,” since police are not supposed to take orders from the minister. The COP also expressed their disapproval of Warner’s action. Of the COP’s disapproval, Taitt said, “it said there was a constitutional separation between the legislative and coercive arms of the State. It was therefore concerned that several Government ministers (Warner and Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap) were involved in ‘essentially a police-military operation’.”
Last week’s cabinet reshuffle had some interesting outcomes, some of which left many raising their eyebrows. Among Kamla’s eyebrow raising decisions was her appointment of disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner as Minister of National Security. Warner previously served as the controversial Housing Minister, but received a great amount of backlash and accusations of faulty judgment after the FIFA bribery scandal broke, causing him to resign from his position as vice-president of the organization.
With an individual as controversial as this, and one with accusations of questionable morality, many have started asking the following question: “What is Kamla thinking?” Does she really have the best interest of Trinidad at heart by appointing someone with a track record like Warner’s as Minister of National Security? Former PM Patrick Manning certainly does not think so. In a recent article with The Guardian, Manning was quoted as saying that the “…people of T&T were the real losers as this government (the PP) continues to fail the people” of the decisions made during the reshuffle. According to the same article, this is the second Cabinet reshuffle made by Kamla in the past two years. Manning stated that the reshuffle was a sad attempt at saving face, just as many consider the previous reshuffle to be. Kamla, however, stated the reshuffle was merely a response to “an impatient and expectant population.”