Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 20th 2014 Contents A25
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Our crime situation in this country is
frightening, and the recent death of Dana
Seethal further highlights this tragedy.
While I think Minister Gary Griffith has the
right no-nonsense approach needed in solving
our crime situation, I think he has to use dif-
ferent methods other than the ones in his cur-
My question is why re-invent the wheel?
Roughly 15 to 20 years ago, New York police
stations were being fire-bombed by Jamaican
gangs, and New York had one of the highest
criminal death rates anywhere in the world.
So how was this situation transformed?
The commissioner at the time said it was
very straightforward. The first thing they
realised was they had no up-to-date crime sta-
tistics, so he set up a network where he got the
stats of all crimes committed on a daily basis.
Second thing the commissioner did was to
break up New York into distinct geographic
areas, and put people responsible for each geo-
The third thing was to have meetings on a
weekly basis. At these meetings, he would
identify the current level of crime statistics by
area. Then he would ask each officer in charge
of his geographic area, "What resources in
terms of guns, men and other support do you
need to reduce these figures by ten per cent for
our meeting next Monday?"
Based on answers given, he would ensure by
the end of that day, the required items and
men asked for were given to each police leader
If by the next meeting the area leader had
not achieved the ten per cent goal he was given
a warning. If by the next week, this person had
not hit the target then he/she was fired.
The commissioner said this system got rid of
inefficient cops, rogue cops and all underper-
formers, because if the police leader of any area
knew he would be fired for non-performance
then he got rid of any liability officers in his
unit who would contribute to his demise.
Now the "excusitise" people will come up
with all kinds of reasons why this system
would not work---but why not? In a relative
It's Your Write
Why bribe police
to do their job?
While I agree with many of
DOMA's recent comments on the
crime situation, the suggestion that
we give $3.5 million to police officers
to solve a high-profile murder is of-
fensive and disrespectful to taxpay-
ers.It is the job of the police to investi-
gate and solve crimes, one which
they are paid to do. Why do we need
to "bribe" them to do their jobs?
What about other murders that
occur---do we prioritise prominent cit-
izens over "common" ones?
A better take on this situation is:
why are we not ridding the police of
non-performers? (If you really want
to give the police more money for
nothing how about $20 for every red
light that they run on an unnecessary
or unsafe manner.)
• remote-monitored CCTV and GPS in
all police vehicles;
• higher academic standards for
entry and higher salaries for those
that make a difference. Traffic po-
lice that are visible on a daily basis
and deal with unsafe drivers;
• training that makes officers under-
stand that they too have to follow
• the building of new stations in suit-
able areas and refurbishment of ex-
isting stations (it doesn't seem to
bother anyone that the "old" San
Fernando police station burned
down years ago and nothing has
been done about it).
in our court
One of the most interesting state-
ments ever written in civic jurispru-
dence in the courts of T&T was writ-
ten by Justice James Aboud and de-
livered in his judgement on a
conservatory order application of the
Highway Reroute Movement in the
case Wayne Kublalsingh and others
vs the Attorney General.
Justice Aboud writes: "Nothing in
the Highways Act authorises the
minister to interfere with anyone's le-
gitimate expectation. It may be that
a power is being properly exercised
pursuant to existing law but if there
is legitimate expectation that the
power would be exercised in a differ-
ent way, the expectation, if it is en-
forceable, would trump the exercise
of the power, whether it was lawfully
exercised or whether it is derived
from existing law."
What this strong piece of jurispru-
dence means is that the Prime Minis-
ter, having made a promise to
intervene and do a review of the deci-
sion to build the Debe to Mon Desir
highway, cannot now use a law prop-
erly exercised or an existing law to
save herself; that is, once the prom-
ise is made in respect of a serious
matter and there is no overriding
public interest to cause her to change
The court found that this was a se-
rious matter and that there is no
overriding public interest.
In other words, the principle of le-
gitimate expectation once breached
can trump even a properly exercised
To put it in a simple way, when the
highest officer in the land, or her offi-
cers, make promises, in respect of a
serious matter, and where there is no
overriding issue to cause her to break
her promise, she must deal with the
matter sincerely and honesty.
Can it be said that the Government
deals sincerely with the Highway
Reroute Movement, and the people
of the land, generally?
SOLUTION TO OUR
TRAGIC CRIME SITUATION
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basis, T&T is much smaller and has many
fewer hot spots than NY had. Because of this
we can marshal our smaller police force more
Even though all police posts are not comput-
erised, therfore sharing these stats may be a
problem. Start by selecting a police leader from
each area and let him walk with his manual
figures to each Monday meeting---as a way to
start process until IT people can iron out cen-
We can go on and on coming up with all
kinds of excuses, but if a decision is made to
implement this system come hell or high water
then a way will be found to overcome all
obstacles...including finding a way to fire non-
A Bagatelle resident holds a placard during demonstrations over the killing of Nigel Long, allegedly by
police, in Diego Martin last week. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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