Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 22nd 2013 Contents media showed police officers driving away with truck-
loads of youth mainly from the East Port-of-Spain
area and charging them with offences under the Anti
Virtually all of them were freed by magistrates on
the application of the DPP because there was no evi-
dence to support their prosecution. In fact, some of
the accused have since turned round and sued the
State for wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and
false imprisonment. Indeed, the chamber can recall
only one conviction, and one conviction alone, being
reported by the press earlier this year in which Jason
Edwards was given two years hard labour for being
a gang member.
The National Security Minister's position?
What does our current Minister of National Security
have to say to us about not only the gang-related
murders, but the continuing rise of homicides, now
that he has settled into his new job? Not only the
chamber, but the rest of society, listened as he declared
that although the police had already implemented
certain strategies to deal with crime, the public can
expect to see some new approaches to this age-old
problem in the coming days. He urged members of
the public to exercise patience and partner with the
police, as they forge ahead to reclaim society from
the hands of criminal elements
"We will be putting measures in place to deal with
this upsurge in murders, and although there are
already measures in place to deal with crime in general,
this extraordinary situation needs to be addressed,"
he continued. "I want the public to know that the
police are on top of things and have already instituted
measures to address the situation. We want the
public s support as we cannot do it alone and are
also calling on people to be a little more understanding,
as there might be impediments to free movement,
such as road blocks, and where police have to cordon
off certain areas."
He extended condolences to the families of the
victims and said because of the sensitive nature of
the anti-crime measures, it could not be publicly
The chamber is now forced to ask: what s new
about this? On a positive and more hopeful note,
Deputy Commissioner of Police Richardson has sig-
nalled that the T&T Police Service was working on
certain intelligence in a very steadfast way while, at
the opening of the new parliamentary term, the Prime
Minister announced that initiatives at fighting crime
in general and to specifically deal with the scourge
of gangs will be on the legislative agenda. She also
said the Attorney General will find additional ways
to deal with crime.
The chamber warns that Section 15 of the Anti-
Gang Act permits its continuance in force only for
a period of five years, two of which have already
elapsed, with one conviction of which we are aware.
This alone is certainly not any justification for its
continuance, having responded to the public exchange
of gunfire in East Port-of-Spain and the rate of gang-
related murders, to which we already referred.
Will anyone listen to the chamber s persistent call
for the conspicuity of law enforcement officers on
the beat in a sustainable fashion and, if this demands
the recruitment of 1,000 more, that the T&T Police
Academy focus on this vigorously. The Police Service
Social and Welfare Association has already complained
to the Acting Police Commissioner about the extra
working hours required of members in implementing
the latest anti-crime measures, hours which are cer-
tainly not tied to producing a reduction in homicides
or serious crime and a rise in the detection, arrest
and conviction rate.
What about some value for the tax dollar while
we await sustainable results from yet another dose
of anti-crime, anti-gang measures.
The month of August has
been one of the "bloodiest"
that T&T has seen for 2013.
Just last Wednesday, there
were four murders occurring
within a 24-hour period.
This followed on the heels of just three
weekends earlier, when we saw seven mur-
ders occurring during a 30-hour period.
The T&T Police Service has labelled the
murders as "gang-related."
This week, the murders continue.
The T&T Chamber of Industry and Com-
merce listened, along with the rest of the
nation, as Assistant Deputy Commissioner
Mervyn Richardson stated in July: "We will
use all arms of the law to our advantage,
including the Anti-Gang Act. We will not
give an inch to lawlessness in this country.
We also noted that Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar declared: "We need to have
the Anti-Gang Act enforced so as to deal
with this increasing scourge in the socie-
ty."In sharing the latter s view, Attorney Gen-
eral Anand Ramlogan declared, "It is my
hope that the police, given the arrests that
they ve made, will utilise the provisions of
the Anti Gang Act to allow for charges to
be brought under the anti-gang legislation
so that these persons can be kept in custody
without bail until such time as the law pro-
vides that they can make an application for
The chamber wishes to recall exactly what
has happened since the enactment of this
law more than two years ago. This was to
be the tool of choice to capitalise on the
state of emergency declared in 2011. The
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 2013 • WEEK FOUR
T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce
The persistent gang threat
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