While addressing the issue of the recent spate of violent criminal acts, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas said the opposition claim that the government was not doing enough in the fight against crime was a “cop out”. “During the recently concluded Budget Debate this country’s Minister of National Security wanted deep analysis and recommendations from the members opposite on the subject of violent crime. Instead what he got was the Leader of the Opposition literally flying away on a plane in the middle of our national Budget Debate. What the Minister of National Security got was the other members of opposition off I believe- no one knows- missing in action they were in the parliament during a very critical debate,” he said. Dr. Douglas said the opposition members had used the issue of violent crime as a political football during the election campaign however when their input on the critical issue was required ‘they were not in parliament attending to the people’s business that they are being paid to do”. He said the citizens deserved better than mere lip-service on the issue. “The macho political challenges thrown out to the public By members of the opposition whenever someone is killed constitutes neither sound policy analysis, serious legislative preparation nor committed policy formulation. The people of this country deserve far better. It is not enough for the Leader of the Opposition to simply claim that the administration of the day has not mobilized enough resources in tackling crime in this country. That is a cop out.” The PM said it was not too late for the opposition to engage in the National Assembly in a mature and responsible manner now that elections were over. He invited the opposition to join forces with his administration in the fight against crime. “This is what is needed now. My government is calling for it; the people deserve it. Let us look forward to very serious policy proposals and analysis from the opposition on violent crime for a change. I believe the election campaign with its catchy sound bites is now over; it is time for hard work. We invite the opposition to roll up their sleeves and become seriously involved. It is time for them to make meaningful contributions to the hard and important work the government has so clearly begun.” The nation’s leader also addressed the perpetrators of the heinous acts of violence being committed on both islands saying, “It is my hope that the persons responsible for these unspeakable acts of brutality will be effectively pursued, captured and dealt with within the parameters of the law. Whoever was responsible for these acts of violence, these persons meeting such untimely deaths, must be made to know firsthand not only the feel of the handcuffs around their wrists but also the noose around their necks as provided for under the laws of this federation if our court system so rules.” To date the federation’s official homicide toll stands at 11, all of which were shootings- the most recent four occurring within a one week period.