Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 15th 2014 Contents A5
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Police Social and Welfare Asso-
ciation is calling for a cessation of the
Rapid Response Unit (RRU), whose
officers were involved in the incident
in which 21-year old Naim Dean was
shot and killed on Saturday night.
The association is blaming "fly by
night" training of Special Reserve Offi-
cers (SRP), who comprise the RRU, for
the killing of Dean.
"The RRU needs to cease operations
and do a re-evaluation. Our worst fears
have been realised.
"The incident is sufficient to bring
an inquiry into the recruitment and
training of the officers," the association s
head, Inspector Anand Ramesar, said at
a press conference at the Besson Street
Police Station yesterday.
The unit was launched by the Kamla
Persad-Bissessar administration in Jan-
uary this year as part of the escalation
of its war on crime.
But Ramesar said they warned acting
Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams shortly after the RRU was
established of the possibility of some-
thing like Dean s killing occurring.
"And it is likely to happen again,"
"It s high time they discontinue the
fly by night training of SRP officers in
a manner that is not commensurate with
their responsibilities. We are calling for
a cessation of the RRU and an acceler-
ation in the training of the officers."
He said when the association regis-
tered its concern about the capability
of the RRU officers with Williams, they
were promised regular officers would
accompany them on patrols but this not
bear fruit. Ramesar said rapid response
is a specialised function and its officers
should undergo specialised training.
"You can t expect them to undergo
six weeks training and expect them to
function with competence."
Inspector Michael Bruce, secretary of
the association, added that the training
of the SRPs for the RRU did not even
come up to the regular standard in the
police service. Calling for the halting of
operations of all similar units formed
under this administration, Seales said
their officers do come sufficiently under
the control of the executive of the police
Seales said the RRU was the brain-
child of Minister of National Security
"It was not a decision of the Com-
missioner of Police. It was hoisted onto
He said the SRPs were given firearms,
authority and all the legal rights of reg-
ular police officers but there are no reg-
ulations governing their conduct.
"They are operating outside of the
police service," he said.
Asked about the number of killings
by regular police officers and complaints
of brutality against them, Seales said
these charges were always reduced to
manslaughter in court.
Dean was shot after the vehicle in
which he was travelling was stopped by
the police in the La Horquette, Glencoe
area where he lived. According to rel-
atives, the officers searched Dean and
three friends who were with him and
Dean began running and was report-
edly shot in the back.
The association said the shooting is
being viewed as a homicide and is being
investigated by the Homicide Division.
Efforts to reach Griffith, the Police
Service Commission and Williams were
not successful yesterday.
Rapid Response Unit
The Rapid Response Unit was
launched in January this year by Per-
sad-Bissessar. She said the unit would
play a significant role in the fight against
crime and criminality.
"The launch of this unit represents
an escalation on our war on crime and
will be an important strategy, not only
in helping to win that war, but also to
help make our citizens feel safe again,"
the PM said then.
The RRU has been in operation since
December 1, 2013, in Trinidad and will
be fully operational in Tobago by March
The unit co-operates with the Com-
munity Comfort Patrol (CCP), a unit
operated by private security officers
under the authority of the police service
and within the architecture of the Private
Comparison in training
• SRPs undergo six weeks of training
for the RRU • Regular officers train for
• SRPs have no probation period •
Regular officers do
• Police officers performing specialised
functions are trained in firearms use,
customer service, psychometric and
polygraph testing • SRPs are not trained
in these areas.
Ramesar blames police killing on poor training
Shut down RRU Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan yesterday clari-
fied his statements over the
possible arrest and extradi-
tion of former executive
chairman of the Urban
of T&T (Udecott) Calder
Hart, saying he had no say
in the criminal prosecution
of the case.
In a Sunday Guardian
article, Ramlogan had com-
mented on Government s
intention to ensure Hart
returns to T&T to face several
ongoing civil lawsuits over
decisions made during his
However, there was some
public debate yesterday that
it seemed the AG to be inter-
fering in the criminal side of
In a release sent from his
office yesterday, Ramlogan
pointed out that while his
office was responsible for all
civil litigation filed by or
against the State, criminal
prosecutions were indeed
within the remit of the Direc-
tor of Public Prosecutions.
"When asked if charges
were laid against Mr Hart,
what could be done if he
refused to testify, the Attor-
ney General indicated that
Mr Hart could be arrested
and extradited depending on
the charge laid," the release
Ramlogan also said that in
civil courts, the State could
secure the attendance of a
witness by serving them with
"If a witness fails to attend
court, he can be committed
to prison for contempt of
court under part 53:5 of the
Civil Proceedings Rules of
Court," the release said.
Hart has been living in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, since he
resigned from Udecott and
left the country in 2010.
One claim by the State
against Hart is for $500 mil-
lion for the mismanagement
of the Brian Lara Cricket Sta-
dium at Tarouba.
The other defendants in
the case are former Udecott
deputy chairman Krishna
financial manager Ricardo
O Brien and former corporate
secretary Neelanda Rampaul.
Civil proceedings started
after the Uff Commission of
Enquiry report, which called
for the police to probe Hart
for allegedly misspending bil-
lions of dollars in Udecott
projects across the country.
JENSEN LA VENDE
Naim Dean s grandmother
Janice Simon yesterday
described his killing by a
police officer as a cold blood-
She made the comment
yesterday after his autopsy
revealed he was shot once in
the back as he tried to run
from police officers on Friday
In a telephone interview
with the T&T Guardian,
Simon said the family had lit-
tle faith in the system and
would be seeking justice by
retaining a lawyer. She said
they would be pursuing the
matter after Dean s funeral,
which is tentatively set for the
La Horquette Community
Simon said she was
informed by pathologist Dr.
Valery Alexandrov that Dean
was in a crouching position
when he was struck by the
bullet, which pierced his lungs.
He was approximately three
feet away, Alexandrov told
The autopsy contradicts the
police reports which stated
that Dean was shot once in
the chest during a scuffle with
According to police reports,
around 8 pm on Friday officers
noticed an Audi car speeding
along the Western Main Road
and intercepted the vehicle.
The four passengers were
frisked, but Dean allegedly
resisted and ran away. Police
chased him down and when
he was caught, Dead allegedly
fought with the officer.
During the fight, he alleged-
ly pulled out a knife and
stabbed the officer. He was
shot once in the chest as both
men fought. Dean was pro-
nounced dead on arrival at the
St James Medical Complex.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Insp Anand Ramesar, right, listens as
secretary, Ag Insp Michael Seales, makes a point during yesterday's press conference at the Besson Street Police Station. Inset:
21-year old Naim Dean who was shot and killed by police on Saturday night. PHOTO: KEITH MATTHEWS
AG dealing with
civil aspect of
Calder Hart case
victim shot from
three feet away
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