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Petition Advocating for the Victims of Crime and Murder in Trinidad and Tobago

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Trinidad is in an unrecognizable state of terror where the most fundamental rights of safety are being stripped away from law-abiding citizens. We have become a lawless society run by killers who murder our citizens on a daily basis with no fear of being caught. These murders cross racial, religious, economic, political, and social lines. They affect ALL of us. How can those we have lost have a voice? How can we make sure their horrible, last painful moments count and matter?

We have to do something to stop Trinidad from being held hostage to this state of terror. Trinidad and Tobago is considered the murder capital of the Caribbean – where one murder is committed every 17 hours. According to the OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council), the TTPS (Trinidad and Tobago Police Service) 2016 Crime & Safety Report indicates that there were 420 murders in 2015, 403 murders in 2014, 407 murders in 2013, 379 murders in 2012, and 352 murders in 2011 out of a population of approximately 1.4 million people. There were more than 460 murders in 2016, and there have been over 250 murders so far for 2017. Most victims are males between the ages of 16 to 35 years. There are also many unsolved cases of missing people – or cases where the cause of death has been undetermined – which results in a suppression of the actual murder count in Trinidad (Caribbean News Now – Marcia Braveboy).

Gang activity has become so institutionalized in Trinidad and Tobago that it has a stronger hold on the people than our Government. According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), a non-profit, independent research and information organization based in Washington DC, gangs control the infrastructures of Trinidad because they are highly organized criminal institutions that infiltrate all levels of society. Their activities are facilitated by an overburdened legal system that results in mass arrests of gang members but low conviction rates of large numbers of felons. 

COHA, as well as the United Nations Development Programme, report that high-level corruption in the government and police force is a barrier to combating crime in Trinidad and Tobago – even to the point of gangs receiving government construction contracts. The report states that public assistance programs like the Unemployment Relief Program (URP) are under control of street gangs. According to the Trinidad and Tobago 2016-2017 Human Rights Report, the Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report ranked corruption as the second-most problematic factor to doing business in Trinidad and Tobago. It highlighted illegal and corrupt practices among police officers – including forging close ties with gang leaders; accepting bribes; and participating in drugs, weapons, and human trafficking. Trinidad continues to be the center of the illicit drug and arms trafficking that takes place in the Caribbean. The OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) Trinidad and Tobago 2017 Crime & Safety Report states that  almost 81% of the murders were committed by firearms, demonstrating the problem of imported and illegal weapons and firearms smuggling. 

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago also does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of sex trafficking, and has therefore been placed on the Tier 2 Watch List. This is because the Government has not held anyone criminally accountable, meaning it has never convicted an individual under its anti-trafficking law, including officials complicit in trafficking (United States Department of State, 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report - Trinidad and Tobago, 2017). Trinidad and Tobago continues to be a transit for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The report states that the Trinidad and Tobago Government decreased funding for its anti-trafficking unit and victim care, and that victims were not provided specialized services, including in the area of legal proceedings. There are also no laws regulating foreign labor recruiters, holding them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruitment.

 We are petitioning the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to implement the following:

1. Effective preventative measures to address teen and youth violence; domestic abuse committed against a spouse or partner within the home; abuse and neglect of children; gender-based violence; alcohol and substance abuse; and mental health care.
2. Training; technology; and legislation that would result in faster and more efficient police response to crime scenes; including allocation of more funds towards equipment that would allow better tracking of cell phones; as well as immediate access to camera/video footage that can provide evidence of crime
3. Appropriate handling of evidence at crime scenes, including advancements in crime case management and intelligence gathering; follow-up with the families of victims; as well as improvement in the response and pace of criminal judicial proceedings; increase in the detection rate for murders which is barely 10%; and an increase in conviction rates which remain around 1%.
4. Better system of leadership; direction; and coordination among all agencies involved in fighting and solving crime, including utilizing trained officers to deal with domestic violence cases; and allocation of resources to support homicide investigators with overwhelming caseloads
5. Prevention of intimidation of witnesses; including protection for members of law enforcement and the legal profession
6. More collaboration with ALL NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that are working diligently to address the social ills in Trinidad that include domestic violence against women; child abuse; mental health care; and teen violence 
7. Increased investigations and severe consequences for corruption within law enforcement and government officials and agencies – including those involved with, or profiting from, illegal trade in guns; drugs; sex trafficking; prostitution; and black market organ trafficking – and cover-up of information and evidence in murder cases
8. Harsher penalties for murderers and sex traffickers
9. Reinstatement of a night-time curfew in crime hotspots
10. Acknowledgement by the Government of the complex factors influencing the ugly state of crime in our country – including realistic and constructive measures to address these causes. These include the drug and arms trade; infiltration of gangs into police and government positions; black market organ trafficking; sex trafficking and forced labor of women and girls from the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Venezuela, and Columbia.
11. Enforcement of Trafficking in Persons Act to meet the standards of the United Nations Anti-trafficking protocol, such as investigating and convicting traffickers, including complicit immigration, government, and law enforcement officials
12. Active outside assistance to combat the high incidence of crime in relation to murder; rape; gang activity; drug and arms trade; trafficking; and corruption.
 

It is so unfair that families who love their country and uphold the values of law-abiding citizens are forced to be at the mercy of people who terrorize this country with fear. It is time to take back our once peace-loving island nation from the hands of criminals. Let us make the lives of all the victims we have lost count and matter. Let us make a stand for them – and for Trinidad and Tobago. It is time to TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY.

Please sign the petition to the following list that includes the Ministry of National Security; Office of the Commissioner of Police; Minister in the Office of Prime Minister, Stuart Young MP; Office of the Leader of Opposition; and the United Nations Security Council. If you cannot sign the online petition – please write letters to the addresses below expressing your concerns about the current state of anarchy that presently exists in Trinidad and Tobago because of our soaring crime and murder rates.

 Office of the Prime Minister – PNM - generalsec@pnmtnt.org

Minister in the Office of Prime Minister, Stuart Young MP stuartyoung4pnm@gmail.com

Office of The Leader of The Opposition - Chloe Building, 10 Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Phone: (868) 623-8662  opposition@ttparliament.org

Ministry of National Security Ministry of National Security- Temple Court 1, 31-33 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain Trinidad West Indies. Tel: 623-2441-6  info@mns.gov.tt       publicaffairs@ttps.gov.tt

Leader of the Opposition –Kamla Persad-Bissessar   kamlapb1@gmail.com

Commissioner of Police - Police Administration Building Corner Sackville & Edward Streets, Port of Spain. 623-8429 - feedback@policeservicecommission.org.tt

Trinidad and Tobago Police Service - TTPS - Police Administration Building, Corner Edward and Sackville Street, Port of Spain, PBX: 627-6047/ 627-5217. Telephone: 623-8429   publicaffairs@ttps.gov.tt 

Ministry of the Attorney General - Cabildo Chambers, 23-27 St. Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General’s Chambers; 623-7010 ext. 2602 Ministry of Attorney General

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – Registry@ohchr.org

United Nations Security Council contactnewscentre@un.org

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown, Guyana  communications@caricom.org        592 222 0001-75

Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 6500

Advocates International      Patricia Roberts  roberts@rave-tt.net

NGO Caribbean Development Foundation - # 42 Balthazar Street, Tunapuna, Trinidad, West Indies Telephone: 1-868-663-9020, Mobile: 1-868-792-2089  Email: contact@ngocaribbean.org

WHO Regional Office for the Americas - Regional Office for the Americas, 525, 23rd Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037 USA  Telephone: +1 202 974 3000
E-mail: postmaster@paho.org  vanalphe@paho.org

Ministry of People and Social Development, ANSA Building, Corner Independence Square and Abercromby Streets City Port of Spain,
Phone +1 868 627 4853 Fax +1 868 627 4853



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