A senior magistrate, who has been the victim of crime, openly spoke about how he and his family are afraid to leave their home due to the crime situation.
“We live in a country where there are probably more guns than people,” lamented Senior Magistrate Rae Roopchand.
He was expressing his dismay over the crime situation in the country while presiding over matters in the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
His comments came one day after the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce called on the authorities to stop politicising crime and take extreme action to protect citizens from the criminal elements.
Roopchand said, “I have no sympathy any more for criminal elements. My heart has no more mercy to extend. But, I am a judicial officer and I must temper justice with mercy.”
Saying that he and his family have been the target of criminals, Roopchand said he could have been murdered and his wife and daughter raped “had we gone home at a particular time.”
He said his family doesn’t go out because of crime. “I sneak out to go in the grocery.”
Noting that there has been a resurgence of kidnappings, the magistrate said, “the most hurtful death” was Dr Rudradeva Sharma who was kidnapped along with Dr. Prem Naidoo, “Not because he was a doctor, a young life snuffed out at the hands of criminal elements…Where is the country going?”
Like the Sharma family, the magistrate said he “never thought it (crime) would hit home.”
He said after dinner he and his family would pray for about two hours before going to bed. “When I pick up a (news) papers I glance, I don’t read about crime.”
He said the only articles he would read are about the law, the Attorney General and parliament.
Roopchand also prays for the missing people in the country, knowing that their families want finality.
People, he said, needed to return to religious values. He noted that for Easter people would go to fetes with women wearing “pom, pom” shorts while the churches are empty. “Where have the values gone?”
The Senior Magistrate is also calling on parents to search their children’s book bags.
Reporter: Sascha Wilson