Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2017 Contents A14 news
guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 27, 2017
Dillon promises increase
in crime detection rate as...
Promising citizens they will see an increase in
the crime detection rate, National Security Min-
ister Edmund Dillon said the Government has
hired a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) custodian
to oversee a DNA bank and is looking at a number
of companies with a view to setting up the bank.
"We've hired a DNA custodian and he's setting up
the management infrastructure right now. We are also
engaging right now a DNA provider to treat with the
DNA data bank.
"That will be a game changer because using DNA
would increase our detection rate," Dillon promised.
The minister was responding to questions from
the media at the launch of a Safety, Security and
Sustainability Expo & Conference a collabo-
rative effort between the National Security
Minister and the Chaguanas Chamber of
Commerce. The event was held at Passage
to Asia restaurant on Yves Street, Chaguanas
Asked the names of the DNA companies
the Government was looking at, Dillion said
he would not want to disclose their names
Pressed whether they were local or in-
ternational DNA companies, he replied, "It
could well be local or international."
In January this year, Attorney General Faris
Al-Rawi said Government is in talks with enti-
ties to begin taking DNA samples to populate the
DNA register, beginning with the prison population.
Legislation to allow for the establishment of a forensic
DNA databank was assented to in 2012.
It states the Forensic Science Centre shall be the official
forensic DNA laboratory for T&T and shall have custody
of and control over all DNA samples and DNA profiles,
including the national Forensic DNA Databank.
It states government may, for the purpose of obtaining
forensic DNA services, enter into an agreement with a lab-
oratory that is accredited by an international accrediting
body, and approved by the National Security Minister, by
Stating his ministry is very much concerned with the
murder rate, in particular, Dillon said they are hoping by
using DNA, citizens will certainly see some increase in the
The police have been constantly criticised for its abysmally
low detection rate. "One of the areas we feel there is a large
need for development is in the detection pillar because the
detection rate right now is about 17 per cent to 18 per cent
which we are not comfortable with," he said.
He said part of the Government's national security stra-
tegic plan is strengthening the police's detection pillar by
increasing its database collection.
There have also been claims that because there is no sub-
stantive commissioner of police ,with Stephen Williams
acting in the position for years, this has contributed to lack
of morale in the police service.
Asked for an update on the appointment of a substantial
commissioner of police, Dillon skirted the question and
threw blame on the last People's Partnership adminis-
"The Minister of National Security is removed from that
process by virtue of the Opposition taking the matter to
"It is now directly in the hands of the Police Service
Commission. I do not want to guess where they have
reached but I know that they have sent out the Requests
for Proposals to select the firm that would then select
the commissioner of police."
Dillon said there are a number of initiatives taking
place right now to treat with crime. "It's not just a one
stop shop but a number of legislative and operational
He said the national security strategic plan will focus
heavily on the detection of crime, prosecution, rehabil-
itation and, more importantly, prediction.
Paediatrician Dr David Bratt says
a shorter lunch period in primary
schools could have a detrimental effect
on the health and emotional well-be-
ing of children.
He said in a television interview that
he had a difficulty understanding the
rationale behind the proposal.
"I think the people who had come
up with the proposal should be
interviewed because it might be
interesting to find out what sort
of reasoning they used to come
up with this suggestion," he said.
Bratt, who was a guest on
CNC3's The Morning Brew
described the proposal as
"Exercise is an important
part of any anti-obesity pro-
gramme and cutting down
the opportunity for children
to exercise in school during
their lunch hour does not make
sense to me," he said.
Referring to concerns by the
current and previous health
ministers about the high cost
to the State to address obesity and
related diseases, Dr Bratt said he did
not agree with the idea.
"Children need play. Children learn by
playing. Play is an important part of school,
whether it is inside the classroom, direct-
ed play, or outside the classroom, which is
undirected or unstructured play.
"Children running around and doing what
they want, learning to interact with their fel-
low students, learning to talk, co-operate, use
their imagination and make up games and
come up with solutions are all important life
He said apart from being fun and contrib-
uting to the formation of life-long friendships
and relationships, play time is important to
establish social contact with others from an
"To think they want to cut down on that
without any good reason, as far as I can tell,
that is a mistake," he said.
Dr Bratt said all successful institutions have
time set aside for physical activity.
He said different methods are required
to handle students with conditions such as
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD). He said a substantial portion of
the school population seems to be suffering
with this and any attempt to reduce the time
for physical activity is "the worst thing you
can do for them."
He said such students needed to play and
expend excess energy before heading back
into the classroom to study academics.
"A lot of medical, educational and social
issues at play here," said Dr Bratt who indicat-
ed his willingness to meet with the ministry
and other stakeholders to discuss the matter
in greater detail.
Dr Bratt said he is aware that school prin-
cipals have the responsibility of ensuring
students' safety at school, and he could
understand the anguish they suffer when
there are incidents of indiscipline and
However, he said, that still did not war-
rant such a drastic change at the national
level which would have adverse conse-
quences for children.
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