By Sue-Ann Wayow
PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley has written to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar requesting to have a meeting to discuss the skyrocketing crime situation.
He made his request via letter dated September 16 and is suggesting that teams be formed from both sides to discuss crime-fighting initiatives.
The talks of collaboration came again after President Christine Kangaloo called for a team effort especially to deal with crime with urgency.
The letter sent to Persad-Bissessar was posted on the Office of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page on Sunday.
It states, “I would like to receive from you, in writing, your proposal(s) which you believe are worthy of bipartisan discussions between the Government and the Opposition. The Government is also prepared to share with you its own ideas, programs and policies for inclusion in these discussions. It is envisaged that your proposal(s), like the Government’s, would include tools designed to lawfully confront the criminal elements that are increasingly emboldened, as they operate in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I propose that after receiving your proposal we establish teams comprising four members each, from both the Government and the Opposition, to discuss the initiatives proposed. These teams will be guided by a crafted agenda formed from our joint submissions which I anticipate we could have in hand within the coming fortnight.”
Dr Rowley also stated that he hoped his invitation would be received positively.
He is expected to return next week.
Speaking on Sunday at the Opposition press briefing, Member of Parliament for Princes Town Barry Padarath also suggested that National Transformation Alliance (NTA) political leader and former police commissioner Gary Griffith be part of the Opposition’s team.
He said the United National Congress (UNC) did not yet decide who will be on their team but that it would discussed.
All stakeholders must be involved, not just the Opposition and Government and that Government needed people with a proven track record, Padarath said.
Hinting at Griffth, he said, “One such person on the national landscape is Griffith – the UNC sees him as a pivotal crucial partner in crime reduction. Prime Minister, humble yourself, you’ve already failed in the crime fight. Let those with proven track record come to the table. You cannot use the excuse of personal animosity and acrimony to keep people who are solution-oriented out of efforts to reduce crime. You cannot depend on prayers to the Lord.”
Padarath added, “I’m sure every person will want to see him as part of the effort.”