HomeNewsBriefFmr Trinidad & Tobago Minister Latest to Call for State of Emergency
BRIEF

Fmr Trinidad & Tobago Minister Latest to Call for State of Emergency

CARIBBEAN / 11 APR 2017 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A former minister in Trinidad and Tobago has called for a state of emergency to address rising crime that's "strangling the lifeline of the country," becoming the latest elite to weigh in on whether this extreme measure is the best way to reduce insecurity in the Caribbean nation. 

"Now we have areas in Trinidad where there are daily killing zones … Crime is on a rampage, it's strangling the lifeline of the country," former Minister of the People and Social Development Glen Ramadarsingh said in an interview with Caribbean News Now. "Terror and bloodshed everyday in the newspapers, it's a very difficult time for our country."

Ramadarsingh's comments supporting a state of emergency come after three business associations signed a joint letter in late January expressing concern about the "ridiculous state of lawlessness and criminal activities in our country." The associations pleaded with the government to "take control of the burgeoning crime situation even if it means calling for a limited State of Emergency in the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago." 

"It appears we are becoming a land of anarchy and chaos," the letter reads.

Not everyone agrees.

"Can anyone tell me what the police would do under a SoE [State of Emergency] that they cannot do now?" asked former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday on Facebook in early February. "A State of Emergency cannot be a way of solving crime. If that is the case, then why not recommend a total State of Emergency forever. We have to come better than that."

InSight Crime Analysis

While there is disagreement about whether a state of emergency is appropriate, all sides seem to agree that the crime situation in Trinidad and Tobago is getting worse. The small, dual-island nation witnessed at least 461 homicides in 2016, which translates to a murder rate of 32.9 per 100,000 inhabitants and an 8 percent increase from the previous year.

Another potential reason for the heightened awareness surrounding crime is the ease with which violent episodes can be recorded and shared on social media. Both the business associations and former Minister Ramadarsingh cited recent videos on social media showing cases of violence and even human trafficking. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy 

But, as former Prime Minister Panday noted, a state of emergency is little more than a stopgap measure for a structural issue. Indeed, a previous state of emergency that was put in place in August 2011 was lifted that December after businesses complained that a curfew was hurting the economy.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 7 FEB 2017

Authorities in Mexico are increasingly making use of electronic surveillance in investigations and operations against organized crime, but the…

MEXICO / 15 DEC 2017

An improvised response from Mexico’s leading presidential candidate has renewed a complex debate about the need for effective strategies…

EL SALVADOR / 15 AUG 2016

The three countries of Central America’s “Northern Triangle” have agreed to cooperate on fighting the regional threat posed by gangs,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.