Feb 25, 2008

"Delusional" and "Irresponsible"

"Dey Say"
A well known High Court judge has labeled the comments of a government minister as "delusional" and "irresponsible" in reference to crime and criminals in the URP program.
Almost every Trinidadian knows that most of the ‘bad boys’ were given a piece of the cake by doling out employment positions in government programs that have had many different names like ’10 days’ and most notably the URP program. These programs have people showing up for work and are back at home before 10:00 am with a grin on their faces for not doing anything but getting paid all the same.
Justice Anthony Carmona was swift in his pronouncement that the government minister (not named) was out of touch with the current state of affairs as it relates to the criminal elements in the URP program.
To quote from the Express article:
“However, former Local Government Rennie Dumas, when questioned on the issue in the run-up to last year's general election, went on record to say that there were no criminal elements in the URP.
Police statistics have shown that over 100 of the victims of gangland killings since 2002 were either URP supervisors, foremen, contractors or workmen.
Homicide detectives and officers from several intelligence units formed to monitor gangs have also said dozens more murders committed are related to fall-out from State-run special works projects.
Government involvement in hiring and awarding of contracts to known criminals has also been well documented over the last ten years.”

The judges ‘see it all’ in the courts and they know ‘from concrete evidence’ that the URP program harbors criminals. Now, to be fair, trying to rehabilitate known criminals by providing employment opportunities is not a bad idea. However, the problem is implementation of the program and monitoring of these people and the work they produce. A worker must produce; in this way he/she will feel empowered and will spend wisely the monies that they worked hard to obtain. However, when people simply show up, don’t work and get paid then it is like finding money in the streets and it is not of the same value to the person. They will spend it without thinking.
The Express article also showed the PM shaking the hands of known gang leader Sheldon “Crock” George during the run up to the General Elections on his walkabout of the Laventille area. Now what was the follow up to this meeting/casual greeting? Did the PM have a plan for these young men to help them find other ways to earn a living or get the respect that they crave so much or was it simply a move to strengthen the hold of the ruling party in the area?
Maybe the judge is correct and they are really “delusional and irresponsible” or the plan worked just the way it was envisioned. Let us hope that we don’t end up with a situation similar to that which is taking place in Bartica, Guyana.






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