Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 29th 2014 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 29, 2014
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Undoubtedly one of the chief caus-
es of the high homicide rate in
T&T is the abysmally low murder
detection rate by our men and women
of the T&T Police Service (TTPS).
The most recent figure quoted was
just below ten per cent. Translated this
means less than ten murders are being
solved out of every 100 cases reported.
Even so, when we calculate the number
of murder cases actually being won by
the police in the court, only then we
can truly say the case was "solved."
Not having access to those statistics,
it can be reasonably assumed that the
detection rate currently may be well
below the ten per cent figure.
And this question has always both-
ered me: how come with all the past
and current assets being given to the
TTPS, financially and otherwise, we are
stuck with this embarrassing reality in
coming to grips with this problem.
We have to wait and see if the scien-
tific or technological steps being imple-
mented by National Security Minister
Gary Griffith are going to deliver the
much-needed boost in this department
of crime fighting, as it is well known
that the main cause of this spiralling
rate is because the criminals who are
taking out people at will can only do
so because they are not being caught.
Plain and simple. Nothing more,
nothing less. And all this fancy talk
about one s economic background being
responsible for this astonishingly-high
number of wanton killings is just too
much baloney; and the sooner we ramp
up the detection rate the sooner the
killings may subside.
The other factor influencing this is
that we have stopped hanging convict-
ed murderers and the moment we
resume "popping necks," I m sure we
will see a drop in such cases.
Come to think of it, I do not hear
any talk about what efforts are being
made to concentrate on this aspect (the
detection rate) in the battle against the
Anyway, with this burning question
on my mind, last weekend I had a very
interesting chat with a police officer
whom I never met but he looked
I walked up to him and posed some
questions. The answers he gave were
interesting and I asked if he would
mind if I published the gist of what he
I promised not to disclose where we
were speaking; that I would not reveal
his name, rank or what section of the
TTPS he belonged to for fear of land-
ing him in trouble for "speaking with
For starters the officer said the police
had one hand tied behind their backs.
In the cases of lawful killings of civil-
ians by his colleagues, the police were
often severely criticised by the public
who did not have all the facts in a par-
ticular incident. The police have to
answer numerous questions by their
superiors, but on the other hand the
same people who witnessed murders
were unwilling to come forward.
"Those of us who are doing the work
with very best of intentions as we are
here to protect citizens are demoralised
by the behaviour of some of the police
who we refer to as the rogue elements
in the service.
"Whenever these officers are
accused, instead of suspending them,
they are simply transferred so they are
around and could interfere with the
investigations against them. In some
instances the big boys in the service
are also involved in activities unbecom-
ing of a police officer, so weeding out
the bad guys in the service is some-
what difficult as they are being shield-
ed by their superiors," he claimed.
Politicians, members of the TTPS,
the Defence Force, the business sector,
customs and immigration officers, he
reminded, came from the same com-
munities as civilians, and these people
reflect the same values as civilians.
Methods must be found to counter
the influence of some members of
those sectors who are suspected of ille-
Why you all cannot get on top of
this crime detection problem?
"Well, that is another story.
"When we get to the court we are
treated by some attorneys as though
we are the criminals. They ask us all
kinds of technical questions; and you
know what? These criminals have the
funds to pay the hotshot lawyers so
they re better able to beat the system
because they are able to pay the best
"How can we beat that kind of odds
against us?" he noted.
"We are also faced with the most
unethical and criminal behaviour by
some of our colleagues who would
alert their criminal friends of intended
action being planned against
them...they are alerted so they can
cover their tracks.
"If we could successfully counter
those rogue cops we would be on the
way to making a major dent in solving
this crime problem."
The presence of racist placards during the march
organised by the Joint Trade Union Movement
(JTUM) on Friday is cause for serious concern.
According to Dr Keith Rowley, opposition leader and
political leader of the PNM, this is part of a wider UNC
general election campaign strategy geared to create a
climate of social instability and unrest.
If Dr Rowley is correct this is part and parcel UNC's
stock in trade and bears the stamp of its ideological
trademark. The tenure of the UNC-led partnership has
been characterised by decisions fuelled by narrow con-
siderations as opposed to those rooted in sound policy
and which could stand the test of intellectual scrutiny.
This govt has racked up a veritable shopping list of
decisions inimical to the national interest and which,
when examined, can be traced to a deliberate desire to
placate and/or benefit a select group of its cronies. The
latest outrage is the foreign exchange shortage being
experienced by the mainstream financial system.
On May 9, 2014 the Central Bank issued a press re-
lease stating that it sold US$50 million to foreign ex-
change dealers in anticipation of what it termed the
"seasonal decline" in foreign exchange inflows. What
this means in simple terms is that if you wished to get
foreign exchange immediately you must purchase
same from one of the privately owned "cambios" at a
higher rate than what obtains at a bank. It has now be-
come a nightmare to buy foreign exchange from any
of the regular banks as once obtained. A cursory ex-
amination as to the owners of the "cambios" will
demonstrate that many are owned by UNC's finan-
That the political fortunes of the Government is on
the wane is to state the obvious and so its default
strategy, it seems, is to retreat to its tribal moorings
and seek to inflame latent racist sentiment even as it
embraces the rhetoric of national unity.
All this against the backdrop of the political earth-
quake that recently took place in India with the elec-
tion of Narendra Modi as India's 15th prime minister.
His victory and that of his BJP party broke the dynas-
tic stranglehold that the Congress party held in gov-
ernment for the last 30 years.
Modi's victory is all the more significant as he hails
from a poor family and not the traditional upper caste
that characterised his predecessors. He was born to
lower middle calls parents and he immediately sig-
nalled his intention to usher in a new era of gover-
nance by inviting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif to attend his swearing in ceremony in what was
a historic first for the two nations.
The UNC-led partnership will abe rudely awakened
to the reality that the politics of tribalism is an out-
moded neo-colonial strategy that will not resonate
with a largely sophisticated and well-travelled popu-
lace and will do little to increase its political currency.
On the contrary this desperate, last lunge to hold on to
political office at any cost will yield increasingly dimin-
ishing returns as the general elections beckons.
Peter AC Taylor
ROGUE COPS A BANE TO THE SERVICE The politics of tribalism---
UNC's default position
For starters the officer said the police had one hand tied behind their backs. In the cases of lawful killings of civilians
by his colleagues, the police were often severely criticised by the public who did not have all the facts in a particular
incident. The police have to answer numerous questions by their superiors, but on the other hand the same people
who witnessed murders were unwilling to come forward.
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