This speech was delivered in Vancouver British Colombia on Saturday the 29th may 2004 at 5p.m, addressing Trinidad and Tobago nationals on the state of T&T .
It gives me great pleasure to be able to address you this afternoon. Whilst the circumstances leading to this address are not very favorable, I am delighted none the less to be here with you. We live in a world where conventional wisdom is no longer adequate to combat crime. Criminal conduct has now elevated to unpredictable heights where we as a global society have to constantly be on the defensive against criminals. Whilst innovations in technology has sought to promote new ways of combating crime, they have also become part of the criminals tools to commit their atrocious acts. The increased use of modern technology has enabled criminals to launder money, commit large-scale fraud and attack computer systems. Crime has evolved into one of the most dynamic phenomenon which challenges our basic values and brings grief to many vulnerable societies that it has become necessary to attack it on an international level.
This evening I want to share with you, not just my story but the story of many citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Over the past three years, crime in Trinidad and Tobago has spiraled onto a new plateau and has begun to negatively affect the country's image, economy and quality of life. In Trinidad and Tobago there has been a unified call by the members of the public for the restoration of a sense of security, which is a key ingredient in achieving social and economic objectives.
Prior to the UNC debut as the government of Trinidad and Tobago, the country experienced an unsurpassed level of crime. On assuming office crime was placed on the front burner and thus a strategic method was adopted to implement measures whereby to curb the escalated crime rate. The holistic crime plan incorporated the establishment of better police stations, improved response time by implementing E999 rapid response system which would facilitate the swift response of emergency calls, the use of technology to fight crime, the involvement of community police and the joint police and army patrol. Every aspect of curbing crime was addressed in our zero tolerance approach. With the implementation of the crime fighting plan the murder rate decreased every year by 24% of the previous year and shootings and wounding were down by 33%.
However at the call of the last general election, due to the unholy alliance between the PNM and the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, the PNM was able to secure the office of the government and this led to the immediate return of crime. It was almost as if crime was a part of the PNM, in that once the PNM governed the country would be prone to high levels of criminal activities. The PNM sowed the seed of deception, thugery and terrorism and having done so the citizens were made to reap the rewards of victimization at the hands of hardened criminals.
Where as long ago when parents sent their children abroad to study, they longed for the day for their children to return home, parents are now wishing that their children stay abroad than to return home and be a victim of this crime epidemic. Some parents whose children reside in Trinidad are even now sending their children abroad to protect them from this scourge of crime. The people of this country are genuinely afraid. They are not even safe in their homes. The sad part about the situation is that most of the people who were responsible for placing the PNM into office are now expecting performance from an incompetent regime.
On a personal note I want to share with you the humiliation which I experienced at the hands of those who profess to be our leaders. In the run up to the last election I experienced a barrage of personal attacks from the PNM. In 2001 the police searched my home on allegations of voter padding and found nothing. This was one of the first attempts to publicly humiliate me. They even took the monitor for my computer which they never retuned. They then went on to question my daughter in her workplace. As if that was not enough they charged my niece for voter padding and had her paraded up and down the streets in handcuffs.
The most blatant attack however was in 2002 when cocaine and missiles were planted in the water tank at my home. According to a confession by one of the perpetrators, the PNM in an attempt to tarnish my reputation, collaborated with members of the police force to plant cocaine and missiles in my water tank. Fortunately one of my parliamentary colleagues received a tip off and was able to alert my son about the incident. As fate would have it, I was out of the country with my wife who was seeking medical attention in the USA. Had I been in the country, and had my colleague not receive that information then the possibility existed that I could have been charged with the possession of cocaine and missiles, which according to the laws of Trinidad and Tobago is an unbailable offence.
In their attempt to tarnish my reputation , members of the PNM and the police did not take the time to think that my children could have died had they drink water from the tank. I could not imagine that the police would be a part of such a sinister plot and I still have problems believing that since I firmly believe that the police is there to serve and protect. The sad thing about this heinous act is that it served its purpose in that it cast doubts in the minds of many voters leading them to either vote for the PNM or not vote at all. Although many people know me to be a law abiding, god fearing individual there were still the few who wondered about the discovery of the foreign substances and whether I had a hand in it. The incident was more painful because it was not just an attack on me but my entire family, since my entire family was made to suffer during an already difficult time.
It is almost two years since this crime has been committed and members of the police force have still not build a case against the perpetrators and as far as I can see nothing will happen unless the police commissioner requests help from the FBI or Interpol.
Whilst the government of Trinidad and Tobago is in dire need of assistance in curbing the crime situation I want to categorically state that country remains one with great prospects for energy investments, production, exports and business development.