By Prior Beharry
POLITICAL Leader of the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) Phillip Edward Alexander wants to be invited to the crime talks between the government and the opposition.
After a call by President Christine Kangaloo for both to meet, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said they were both willing to hold discussions on crime.
In a statement on Friday, Alexander said, “Media reports of moves being made between government and opposition to have crime talks while leaving out other major stakeholders is why those talks will fail before they start, and why the voter turnout is so low.
“The population clearly does not want the conversation framed through the narrow lens of the race divide which is exactly what any such conversation will pin the issue to. Neither of those parties address the serious issues that are the drivers of crime and may end up debating ways to stunt for the media, but the public is having none of it.
“The Progressive Empowerment Party is the representative of the third constituency outside of those two parties and should be invited to add to the conversation.”
He said PEP’s presence at the meeting would ensure social development issues such as jobs and proper education make it through as solutions to the increasing crime situation.
Alexander said other issues for discussion should include dealing with credit and foreign exchange stifling entrepreneurial development, securing the nation’s borders, unstuffing all containers and imports on the ports, proper compensation and incentivisation of police and other essential law enforcement personnel, and the fast-tracking of matters through the courts.
He said, “Corruption plays a massive part in the creation of a culture of crime and this too must be addressed in any serious conversation on crime.
“The PEP stands ready to contribute publicly on these issues and would make ourselves available to add to any serious national discussion in addressing the drivers and causes of crime.”