The societal breakdown around us is palpable.

Everywhere you turn there is chaos, indiscipline and manifestations of a society about to implode. Once you leave your home, your senses are assaulted by aggressive driving, loud music, lack of courtesy and piles of garbage. These assaults are carried out by people who are confident that there are no consequences for their actions so they continue to push the envelope.

Photo: A young man kisses a high powered weapon.

They have received the memo that if you kill your neighbour it will take 15 years for the matter to be called in the courts; that like Ish, Steve and Jack, if the courts have pronounced against you in a matter, you can use the bureaucracy to avoid any consequences; that if you commit a home invasion, by the time the police arrive you would have moved on to your next heist; that you can commit traffic violations like driving in reverse for more than 3 kilometres and despite the evidence being on camera, you will not be prosecuted; that as a doctor, you can carry out surgery on a person to remove cocaine from his stomach, not report it, and if you’re found out, and no one will hold you accountable.

This is not a list of hypothetical scenarios but rather realities which empower wrongdoers to operate with impunity. We know that there is no silver bullet solution to the scourge of criminality which is stalking our land, and solutions are complex, but citizens want to feel confident that somewhere it is being addressed.

In the 2015 election battle, both political parties used ‘solving crime’ as a key pillar in their manifestos.  The People’s Partnership manifesto made 59 references to crime and committed to preserving law and order.  The PNM talked about a new approach which would modernise and transform the Police Service and ultimately operationalise the Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs).

Since both parties had solutions in 2015, isn’t it logical for the Government and the Opposition to collaborate now to tackle our most intractable problem?

Photo: Then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) shakes hands with her successor, Dr Keith Rowley, en route to Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

As the saying goes, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

If I were the Leader of the Opposition I would write to the Prime Minister offering to work with him on a crime plan. I would also provide a list of 7 subject matter experts who could operate on a bi-partisan basis to provide solutions. Then I would make this all public to be transparent and demonstrate that leaders can collaborate on critical issues.

Such an offer would be extremely difficult for the Prime Minister to reject and it will signal to the wider community that the Opposition is responsible and willing to act in the national interest.

In the absence of collaboration to solve crime, citizens will continue to operate in chaos and be happy that we survived another moment without being a victim. Living in fear and praying that you will not be the next victim is unacceptable and inhumane.

We deserve better than this.