Several pardners of mine had some really memorable things to say this week.
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A Special Prosecutor essential in crime fight
Trinidad is a small patronage based society—everyone knows a person in authority, or knows someone who knows a person in authority. Our institutions are weak. Given the extent to which we have descended into crime of all varieties being committed with impunity, our only hope is to create an institution that is above the patronage—an independent, professional and impartial anti-crime agency headed by a special prosecutor, a strategy also successfully adopted by Hong Kong and Singapore.
The United Nations and Guatemala have implemented such a strategy to great effect (see attached CICIG). Their foreign special prosecutor (acting independent yet collaborating with their local prosecutor’s office) has advised on matters relating to: money laundering, gangs, gun importation, illegal drug industry, corruption, fraud etc, resulting in dramatic victories for the rule of law and is now a symbol of hope among
Guatemalans. (seehttps://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/against-odds-cicig-guatemala and the Report from Lund University at http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=8907595&f...)
Alongside a special prosecutor we must overhaul the criminal justice system now broken beyond repair. Tinkering will not do. The entire system, from pre-arrest to conviction and sentence must, among other things, be digitised, including the placing of radio-frequency identification (RFID) units to trace all guns of members of the armed forces.
Of course to achieve all of this will require introduction of new legislation and therefore political will and maybe non-partisan collaboration among our parliamentarians.
Bringing crime under control is a fundamental priority and duty of any government, without which T&T cannot hope to attract new investment and diversification which all parties agree is essential for transforming our economy and halting its downward spiral into the abyss.
We need to establish Citizens Assemblies so that we can start a conversation on this and other subjects. I look forward to hearing your views on these proposals and alternative strategies for dealing with crime and ultimately transforming our culture and value system, without which, as Terrence Farrel says, we will continue to flounder.
Former President of the Senate
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