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New Years message by SURUJRATTAN RAMBACHAN MP TABAQUITE

As we enter 2018 we do so with a lot of apprehension and fear. Unfortunately this is the reality borne out of the decay of two important institutions whose ability to function efficiently has been severely affected and in whom public trust is at an all time low. I refer to both the Judiciary and the Police Service.

The state of the economy aside, the threat to citizen security engendered by unrelenting criminal elements as well as a general breakdown in discipline in schools and specific communities leave us wondering as to how are we going to get out of this morass.

How can we be happy with the way crime is exploding. The Police are reporting that serious crimes are down. How can this be true when in every nook and cranny the people are speaking about their experiences and those of persons they know. Is there a deliberate suppression of the crime statistics or is that people have stopped reporting crime because they feel that nothing will be done by the police and the Ministry of National Security. The reality is that as a people we have been fed a lot of what the people have seen through as theoretical crap not backed up by operational interventions.

I am however hopeful that recent discoveries of significant amounts of guns and ammunition would begin to inspire confidence in both the public and the Police. I am still disappointed that bail appears to be so accessible for what are serious crimes. Bandits in my view are actually being freed to continue their banditry. As lawmakers in Parliament we must decide on laws which can send a strong message that the nation is fed up. This will require an AG who is less confrontational and ego driven and more concessional and collaborative. It is my view that the current AG has been dismissive of the views of the Opposition which have not been proven to be without merit. The political scoring points mentality must be replaced by the parliament scoring points for the people who we purport to represent. Anything else in 2018 would be an affront to the dignity of the people and their well being. We cannot sit back and continue to witness the slaughter of our citizens. The AG must recognize that his and his government’s views are not the only valid points of view, something which I fear escapes him many a time.

In the last year in particular so much has been made of the opposition being uncooperative and unpatriotic. The media has unfortunately given life to this narrative. It would have been a fair gesture if the media would have examined the evidence which the PNM purportedly uses to place these labels on the opposition. I ask in sincerity. Are over 300,000 persons supporters of the UNC unpatriotic. Are only PNM people patriots

The divisions being created by this narrative will be detrimental to the unity of this country. It is a narrative whose impact is going far beyond the walls of parliament and is creating a we/they syndrome. To accuse a person of being unpatriotic is a serious matter. To have that accusation transferred in a subtle manner to the belief system of a group is dangerous. The PNM may have found it cute to promote this label but have ignored the unintended consequences.

In the struggle to beat the recession, to resuscitate the economy, to dent the crime situation the collective energies of all the people will be required. Telling half of the people that you do not belong is worst than promoting racism.

We have witnessed the failure of the govt to deal with major issues but most importantly they have failed to make hope alive in the people. It is when hope is lost that a people perish .

I wish everyone peace and prosperity for the new year and for a leadership that inspires hope. That not forthcoming leaders must arise from among the people to inspire the way forward. And know what, my country has the talent.

Surujrattan Rambachan MP

Tabaquite

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