Saturday 30 May, 2020

Padarath slams Culture Minister’s response on Carnival and crime

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath criticised Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly over comments on crime affecting this year's Carnival season.

Speaking during a media briefing earlier this week, Dr Gadsby-Dolly said that although crime is an issue, this is no different to other countries.

"The fact is that our crime rate would cause people to advise their citizens to be careful. That is something that we have to do around the world. I don't think that Trinidad and Tobago is any less safe than anywhere else around the world and any precautions that anyone else would take in a big city, they would take in Trinidad and Tobago."

Padarath said her statements shows that the issue is not being treated seriously enough.

"(This) demonstrates that the Minister and the government is out of touch with the reality of how Trinidad and Tobago is seen by the outside world and the reality that exist in the country as it relates to crime as compared to other parts of the world."

He said that while January 2018 continues to be the bloodiest in the nation's history, Dr Gadsby-Dolly did not address the issues identified in the advisory and instead "attempted to give the impression that nothing outside of the norm was happening here at home in relation to crime".

"Big cities the Minister spoke of such as New York, had less than two hundred murders than Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 while they had a much higher population than ours."

He added that in 2017, the largest city in the United States of America has a record of 290 murders while Trinidad and Tobago has 495.

Padarath asked what measures are being taken to ensure tourists' safety while in Trinidad and Tobago and to address frontally the issues identified in the travel advisories instead of burying its head in the sand.

He said in 2017 Trinidad and Tobago found itself in the top ten countries of the world with the highest homicide rate and that many other countries were looking on at this and were fearful for their citizen’s safety.

"Statistics have shown that since assuming office the PNM led Rowley government has reigned over an upsurge in homicides, murders and serious crime."

"The Culture Minister’s statement makes absolutely no sense, since here in Trinidad and Tobago both locals and foreigners have to be increasingly vigilant of not random robberies or petty thefts but rather from being killed," he said.

He is asking for a "full comprehensive statement from the government addressing the issue of the travel advisories against Trinidad and Tobago, with the view of providing a sense of reassurance through actionable plans to make tourist feel safer when visiting".

He also said Dr Gadsby-Dolly should acknowledge that the crime situation, especially murders, is "affecting tourism not only for carnival but all year through and not to trivialize the situation".

"A big part of the problem in dealing with serious crime and murders was evident in the Minister’s comment and that is the government does not have the political will to acknowledge that crime has crippled our society neither do they have the political will to do something about it," he said. 


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