Kamla on expiration of emergency: I have no regrets

(Trinidad Guardian) Despite criticisms from Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and many others in T&T, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she has no regrets about calling the state of emergency to deal with spiralling crime. The state of emergency was declared on August 21 and after 15 days it was extended to December 5. It expired at midnight Monday night as the Government made no move to further extend it. The Government would have required the support of the Opposition for a further extension.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Rowley said last week no support would have been forthcoming from the Opposition. In a brief telephone interview with the T&T Guardian hours before the state of emergency expired on Monday, Persad-Bissessar said: “I have no regrets.” She said: “The criminal offences were down, a number of illegal drugs, guns and ammunition were found by the security forces. “The state of emergency was a successful crime-fighting weapon. I have no regrets.”

Persad-Bissessar said on Monday none of the measures used before were successful in the fight against crime. “This weapon (emergency) was successful and the nation is now safer,” she insisted. Persad-Bissessar said the security forces “are now fully mobilised. They have a plan and are ready and able to deal with crime and the criminal element, post state of emergency.” She said she was encouraged by the success of the emergency and remained committed to ensuring all citizens of T&T remained safe.

Persad-Bissessar said several social measures, including “Colour Me Orange”, have been developed and were being implemented to ensure the less fortunate in the society led more rewarding lives. Last week, the security forces allegedly unveiled a plot to assassinate Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Housing and the Environment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma. Some 16 people were detained under the Emergency Powers in connection with the alleged plot.

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