Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2015 Contents A29
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
It has become the norm to get
what we want by burning
tyres in the road. Monday s
"total policing" was the police s
equivalent of burning tyres---
encouraged by the Government
because it is the only time they
Many police officers work
under dire conditions. Don t
they have a right to better
working conditions and wages
in keeping with the office they
Additionally, all this talk of
low productivity, why didn t
businessmen engage the Gov-
ernment in the discussion
regarding the debilitating
chikungunya virus? Didn t pro-
ductivity throughout the coun-
try drop because of this illness,
the effective of which, for
many people, is long-term?
The truth is, if it doesn t affect
the business leaders personally,
it s not important.
I hear some outcry that the
police should be as dedicated
all the time. True. But other
employees/groups receive pay
increases based on increased
cost of living and job descrip-
tion, not on performance. That
is another matter, to be
addressed by the Police Com-
Why are police to be treated
differently? Granted, they may
not be performing at optimum
level but that is a matter for
If an officer is not perform-
ing satisfactorily, there are
other steps that can be taken,
as obtains in private enter-
prise. If it is thought they are
not worthy of the salary
increase they are demanding
due to the qualifications
required to become a police-
man or policewoman, then it s
up to the Commissioner, or
whoever is authorised to do
so, to raise the standards.
Again, these are all separate
The police are simply asking
for fair salaries and acceptable
SIMPLY ASKING FOR FAIR SALARIES
A policeman carries out a search of a vehicle during a road exercise along the east-bound lane of the
Western Main Road, Cocorite, which caused major gridlock in west Trinidad on Monday.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Trying to justify
The only two local programmes on
television I look at are the news and Be-
yond The Tape. After Monday's perform-
ance by Inspector Alexander, I will be
down to one, the local news.
For almost one hour, Alexander at-
tempted to insult our intelligence with
this nonsense of trying to justify the un-
justifiable. Know this, Mr Alexander, you
can fool some of the people some of the
time, but not all of the people all of the
I have lost all respect for police. But
worse yet, the Minister of National Se-
curity publicly announces that he did not
believe that this was industrial action!
Is this what passes for leadership in
this country? And guess what---no one
will be held accountable.
What a disgrace.
Police lose stripes
Inspector Alexander's response to the
roadblocks highlights the sad state of
the police service in T&T. By his response
he clearly thinks that the citizens he is
mandated to protect and serve suffer
the same affliction as the system that
has sanctioned his promotion to a level,
it would appear, clearly above his capa-
It will be indeed interesting to dis-
cover how many criminals were ap-
pended in this exercise.
We wait with bated breath the out-
come of the investigations but do not
expect any action as the various Service
Commissions seem powerless to disci-
Who ordered the myriad of police
roadblocks on Monday morning that vir-
tually shut down T&T?
As we await this answer with bated
breath, the thousands of vehicles that
were trapped inside this gridlock opens
up a serious debate on the deficiencies
of our existing transport system.
Many motorists spent hours trying to
get to their destinations. Buses and
maxis turned away. Schoolchildren
walked for miles. Medical appoint-
ments/surgeries were painfully can-
celled. Airline flights were grounded.
Does this disaster emphasise the
need to re-examine the construction of a
There are over 700,000 registered ve-
hicles operating in this country presently
and this number is growing daily. The
nation's highways and byways are liter-
ally bursting at their seams.
Traffic congestion, migraine
headaches and declining productivity
vigorously complement each other in
this day and age.
An efficient transport system feeds
the economic activity of a country.
The next Government must address
this burgeoning problem as a matter of
Mission, focus of police
must be overhauled
It appears to many ordinary folk that
the people who have pledged to protect
and serve us have turned on us in the
most cruel of ways. In a sad way this
has echoes of a protection racket of
sorts. How can we ever trust them
This serves to make two larger points:
First, the protective services have in-
deed been neglected in many ways---
from training to compensation to
working conditions and equipment.
Equally as important is an overhaul of
mission and focus---geared at restoring
trust and the expectation of fair treat-
This has reverberations that are far-
reaching. I propose a Commission of En-
quiry into the protective services be
done to give us some direction on how
we can all arrive at a better place.
Secondly, if the regular Monday morn-
ing "smashup-and-backup" on the na-
tion's roads hasn't taught us this
already, we should now see the folly of
investing solely in road transport on this
island. I hope the much-ignored water
taxi and perpetually proposed railway
projects now foist themselves strongly
upon decision-makers in this country.
As a result of the losses to the econ-
omy occasioned by the recent roadblocks
by the police, the relevant authorities
should take back the monthly $1,000 al-
lowance that each police officer receives.
The same way that Peter paid for Paul
when they affected everyone, so too
every police officer should pay for the ac-
tions of their fellow officers.
Take back the allowance until the loss
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