Crime in this country “is really out of control and is affecting business in a big way,” regional business tycoon Derek Chin has said.
Chin, who was inducted into this country’s Business Hall of Fame in 2018, made the statement to Guardian Media in a telephone interview yesterday, as the country surges to the unfortunate record of 600 murders for this year.
“A lot of people I know, they are not investing any more money in the country, they have lost confidence and they are looking to take whatever savings they have to another destination. Trinidad is not a paradise where people feel they can invest and feel comfortable anymore. A lot of the money is going other places and that makes it worse because less business means less employment, more hardship so on and so forth. Everything is just out of whack,” Chin said.
The murder toll stood at 591 last evening after a brutal 13 hours from Monday into yesterday in which five people were killed, including two double murder incidents in Moruga and Piarco.
Chin said while a city like Miami also has crime, it does not feel the same as it does here.
“The fact that nobody seems to be held accountable, that the rate of solving crime is obviously very, very low and we don’t have confidence in the police service, it does not auger well for us who live here and the business community and those who have to go to work every day and the people don’t want to go out in the night, which especially affects us in the entertainment business,” Chin said.
“Nobody wants to go out in the night because they are afraid to go home and worse, of course, are these home invasions, where even your privacy in your own home is impacted.”
He said citizens now have to include closed-circuit television cameras, alarm systems, dogs and other security measures to feel safe at home. He said when you put all that together, it is certainly not a position or place where we want to be as a country.
“People are looking for some degree of hope, putting more policemen and going after bandits and shooting them is not the answer, you have to look at what the source is, it is not going to solve itself overnight,” Chin said.
“It is a generation or two that have gone awry and we have to look at those who have the power to look at where the problems are in those communities, where there is much hopelessness and try to solve the problem in terms of re-education and creating more courses and discussions to see how we could stymy this,” he said.
“Our police, while they try hard, they have some things stacked up against them and we don’t have the confidence with what we see happening. It is also caught up with the politics and we are looking for solutions with both opposition and government and all we getting is more bacchanal,” he said.
Visitors will come for Carnival
Meanwhile, acting Minister of Tourism Paula Gopee-Scoon is confident that despite the continuing spike in murders, people will still visit this country for Carnival 2023.
T&T recorded another five murders on its way to the 600 mark.
Contacted for comment on whether she felt the continuing crime rate would affect tourism, especially with Carnival two months away, Gopee-Scoon said, “A bumper Carnival season is expected with a number of hotel rooms already sold out, costumes are being bought online and locally. I have every confidence that the flights will be fully sold out, this is the expectation, understanding that Trinidad and Tobago has the best Carnival in the world.”
Minister Gopee-Scoon noted, however, that the Government is concerned about crime in general and suggested that Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds will speak to that directly.
“But I am just looking at the level of activity that we’ve had here for football and as the Christmas season rolls in, there’ve been a number of shows that have been sold out, so that I think that Trinidadians and Tobagonians and our diaspora and our visitors are all expecting much and they will be here for Carnival,” she said.
On Monday, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds attributed the availability of weapons to the high crime rate. He also said most of what is done by his ministry cannot be seen but this does not mean they are not functional.
“I estimate that about 85 per cent of what we do in National Security cannot be discussed in the public… and therefore, don’t misunderstand silence for lack of care, lack of concern, it is far from that,” he said.
Efforts to contact acting Police Commissioner Earla Christopher for a comment on the latest surge in murders were unsuccessful.