I WANT to speak a little about the financial impact of crime on businesses within our country.
The security costs they have to pay to keep their businesses and families safe and to keep their livelihood intact. With the high cost of living we already can’t make ends meet but have no choice but to pay more for security to protect our businesses and our families.
There are issues with businesses closing up shop and leaving as crime can be devastating to businesses of all sizes. The loss of stock, criminal damage or threats to staff all have a devastating impact on the business, in some cases causing the businessman to just pack up shop and leave this country. These devastating effects hit especially hard for smaller businesses.
There are high costs to our businessmen in their communities related to training employees who then migrate due to crime. This alone is a huge problem for our country. Beyond the direct effects on victims, crime and violence inflict widespread costs, generating a climate of fear for all citizens and diminishing economic growth, but locally especially here we now have a new type of problem where extortion is hitting our businessmen. Tugs from gangs hitting up our businesses for protection money so they can operate in a certain area safely without being attacked by these very gangs. Or so they can work in that area to complete a job. The thing like an epidemic!
It seems that burglaries, break-ins at business premises and home invasions are the order of the day. Loss of stock is just the tip of the iceberg. Insurance costs rise every time a business owner has a claim plus repairing smashed windows, burglar proofing or broken gates and grills costs money and has resulted in the stores being shut down while the work is carried out, costing more money.
Insurance costs due to crimes like arson and insuring plant equipment and goods are all costing our businesses more and at a time where we are all just trying to survive. In my opinion the number one job description of the Minister of National Security is to protect our citizens and ensure they are safe from these attacks.
The bloody violence that goes unchecked has forced operators out of business and in many cases, to cut down their activities, in both cases leading to the loss of jobs.
Businesses have had to make costly investments in modern security systems, armed security guards and many businesses close their doors early and pay for transportation for their employees just to avoid being targeted. At the end of it all robbery, theft, vandalism and arson increase the cost of doing business.
As a concerned citizen, I am very concerned about the capabilities of the minister of national security and his ability in doing his job. All we see are heinous crimes committed day in and day out and he has the gall to come and say we caught a person and charged him for human trafficking, yes it is a great day in the fight against human trafficking. However, when the media asked when he would be jailed, the Minister said well, he can’t be found right now. He escaped! It’s like you say you win the lottery but lord help us, you lost the ticket.
Citizens are under siege and are vowing not to return to this country because of criminal activities and attacks against them.
I think all citizens of this country now realize that we really need a competent Minister of National Security because the one we have is only sleeping in the job. Elections have consequences and we are facing those consequences now.
Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.