WE HOPE the meeting held on Monday between members of the Opposition and the Joint Chambers of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce represents a turning point for the country when it comes to the issue of crime, which continues to ravage the nation.
According to the Opposition, it used the meeting as an opportunity to present plans, policies and proposals to address the crime wave, while also highlighting its voting history in Parliament and the need for holistic interventions, including social policies.
The Chamber, meanwhile, used the meeting to learn more about the Opposition’s position and views as it continues its own consultative process with its membership.
Both delegations are important stakeholders, with the Chamber having a strong track record of highlighting the need for urgent, non-partisan action on the part of politicians on this issue.
Last February, the group urged the Government to act swiftly and urgently on the issue in the wake of the brutal killing of businesswoman Nicole Moses in the presence of her family and children.
In May, after the shooting of Chaguanas businessman Darryl Dindial, it once more called for urgent action and appealed to lawmakers to set aside partisan positions in order to implement legislation and policies that can make a difference. It yet again placed emphasis on bail conditions.
The business community is an important stakeholder in the issue not just because of the detrimental impact crime has on our quality of life and overall economic productivity.
Whatever plans and policies are put in place, there is a need for the social aspect of crime to be addressed. That requires more than just the actions of state officials and politicians.
If we are serious about a holistic approach to solving this menace, all of society must be on board and must play a part.
Economic factors on the ground – which are sometimes masked by misleading macro-economic indicators which more relate to revenue streams that do not directly trickle down to the small man – play into the crime problem.
Levels of unemployment and inflation are relevant here, as are the job prospects of those willing and able to secure meaningful work.
Businesses often supply corporate sponsorship to NGOs and civil society bodies that have a hand in community engagement. While many companies call on governments to act decisively, the truth is the private sector has a role to play. It very often has the skills required to tackle specific issues and lack of state action in some areas should not stop efforts to support projects and initiatives.
The economy is still tender and many organisations are still sore from the impact of the covid19 pandemic, meaning it cannot be assumed businesses have access to the resources that might otherwise be diverted to social measures and sponsorship.
But given how many hands are needed on deck for meaningful change to occur, all stakeholders – Government, Opposition and private sector officials – must act in concert on this matter.