Home / View Point / Letter to Editor: Mr CoP, if this murder rate does not scream ‘crisis’ then what does?!

Letter to Editor: Mr CoP, if this murder rate does not scream ‘crisis’ then what does?!

“If 63-plus murders, combined with a number of persons missing, in a population of 1.4M does not constitute a crisis—as understood by your goodly self as head of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS)—what does?

“What will it take to recognise that this nation is in crisis? Would 100 murders a month do, or would it require, say, 500?”

The following Letter to the Editor on the current murder rate and acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams’ response to the same was submitted to Wired868 by Rudy Chato Paul, Sr:

Photo: Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams (left) shakes hands with US Embassy Security Policy and Assistance Coordinator, Juanita Aguirre, at the handing over ceremony of 18 forensic photography kits to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service by the US in 2015. (Courtesy US Embassy)
Photo: Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams (left) shakes hands with US Embassy Security Policy and Assistance Coordinator, Juanita Aguirre, at the handing over ceremony of 18 forensic photography kits to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service by the US in 2015.
(Courtesy US Embassy)

From conversations with colleagues, friends, associates, family members and even total strangers, it has become quite clear that I am not the only one bothered when persons in positions of authority, people whom we would usually think are at least semi-intelligent, insult the intelligence of us lesser mortals, thereby showing their true colours—intentionally or otherwise.

While we have practically grown used to this level of disrespect from such persons over the years, elected and selected, there appears to have been a brazen, concerted effort recently to ‘turn up the heat’—especially since this year began where we have seen a deadly increase in the murder rate, despite all ‘the prayers offered.’

One such example is where the Ag CoP tells us, with his usual poker face, that: ‘This nation is not in crisis.’

My question Mr CoP, Sir, is this: What will it take to recognise that this nation is in crisis?

If 63-plus murders, combined with a number of persons missing, in a population of 1.4M does not constitute a crisis—as understood by your goodly self as head of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS)—what does?

What will it take to recognise that this nation is in crisis? Would 100 murders a month do, or would it require, say, 500?

Photo: The lifeless body of a murder victim.
Photo: The lifeless body of a murder victim.

This comes when we also learn that T&T is one of the ‘biggest spenders’ on crime.  One cannot help but wonder about the numerous crime plans over the years, ranging from ‘Anacaonda’ to the present. And where exactly has this  money been spent? Was it on outfitting police stations with A/C?

Such callous remarks are extremely dangerous, especially coming from the head of the dysfunctional organisation known as the TTPS, and signals a message to subordinates that despite the mayhem, all is acceptable, if not okay.

Ironically, Mr CoP recently sent a couple divisional heads packing for their lack of performance, citing the rational that criminal behaviour under their respective jurisdictions was quite unacceptable. So it appears that although criminal behaviour is unacceptable, we are not yet in crisis mode.

It’s heart wrenching, to say the least, each day to pick up the newspapers littered with nothing but reports of criminal behaviour and with pictures of bright, yellow ribbons screaming ‘CRIME SCENE.’

Meanwhile, the rest of us are expected to go about, seeking our daily bread, in this same space, which, not so long ago, was referred to as ‘paradise.’  But as the phrase consistent with the season tells us: ‘We jamming still.’

Photo: A murder scene. (Copyright Udayavani)
Photo: A murder scene.
(Copyright Udayavani)

The psyche of our people are battered with horror stories of lifeless bodies, some with missing heads and arms. Add to the murderous rage, our thoroughfares are also littered with bodies, laying for hours awaiting the arrival of the DMO to tell us what we all know: that they are dead. The further indignities victims’ families are forced to experience are painful and no one should have to go through such experiences.

The conversations across this landscape has long been dominated by the atrociousness and brazenness where a handful of individuals engaged in criminal activities manage to hold an entire nation hostage. And where many of us are no longer living in fear, but more like surviving—sitting ducks; awaiting our number.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the detection rate of murder is a crime in and of itself. And while it is comforting to some of my colleagues that Mr CoP’s name has never been called in any of the numerous scandals or corruption stories which plague this our native land, he cannot remain unscathed.

The buck must stop someplace. The blame-game has outlived its usefulness in an environment dominated by social media, which has made everyone an unofficial reporter.

For the TTPS to continue to operate in its ‘back in times’ mode is unacceptable. Blaming a nation for not cooperating with the TTPS is worse if the heads fail to understand why citizens refuse to cooperate with them.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) was accompanied by five police officers at the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) press conference on 20 April 2016 at the Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) was accompanied by five police officers at the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) press conference on 20 April 2016 at the Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Mr CoP perhaps you should know that the one word sums up the relationship between the police and citizens is ‘trust.’ Perhaps I should say lack of trust.

No amount of money spent by either the government or the TTPS can purchase it!

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58 comments

  1. The crime situation in the country is UNC INSPIRED.. Remember they PROMISED BLOOD WILL FLOW..yes people blood will flow..Indeed its flowing

  2. And how many of these was domestic? Cause they trying now to divert attention from the rate to the women

  3. What are citizens doing beside the blame game, why not save your energy and demand the entire Parliament work collectively along with stakeholders to deal with the criminals. Crime is not a PNM or UNC problem it is a T&T problem, NO government can solve it. 5 years the borders were left open, you think criminals went on holiday, no they used the adhoc decisions of the former government to bring in people, drugs and guns. Lets get real about the issue. Politicians have done an excellent game of citizens playing the race game , the UNC versus PNM , the US versus them and Africans and Indians. Clearly education has not solved this old age phenomenon. Unit we realize that as T&T citizens we are the same the games will continue

  4. The PNM and its supporters like it so.
    Dont you see that they viciously attack anyone who highlights their party’s gross inefficiency in all areas of governance.
    Clueless PNM.

  5. Latest man shot outside KFC Independence Square. What is going on? We don’t want no more conversations, we want a Government who will do the job they were elected to do.

  6. I will say it again and again……it will be a crisis only when their own family and friends are kidnapped, raped or murdered……God forbid.

  7. I have that app . It’s going good so far .

  8. It is past crisis but those in Govt seem oblivious.. only perfunctory comments to pacify little people. I pointed out before that on a per capita basis, TT has 2x the amount of homicide than Chicago, the most violent city in the US.

  9. Well..thanks for the comfort Sir..

    • that is why MX Prime song andBunji/Machel ‘buss head’ are so good , its tells you the mindset of the people. iyts vacuous and empty similar to many politicians. Its about fete as someone said about. Trini’s care and stand for nothing, but after Carnival, is all PNM fault for all that is wrong and not collective responsibility. This has been done for the last 50 years. Leave it up to the politicians , because we just don.t care. CRIME has been festering for years and party politics continues to take precedence. what will bring us as a nation to our needs . The REAL power is in our hands, when are we going to really use it . We don’t like to face the truth in T&T .Mr Traboulay you are quite right, but we like to shoot the messenger, That’ swhy those in the wrong , feel they right , because there are those who encourage and support them. I continue to pray for My Country.Always remember God is watching the madness in T&T and one day he will Act. This is a message to those who feel power is their hand.

  10. I wonder how that app the TTPS introduced a couple months ago with a private organization to help the public report crimes anonymously is working out?

    • Or if anyone has used it. I would be curious too if we have little confidence in the police, how this works out. Because Crimestoppers is supposed to be a third party, and people are also reluctant to use that service.

  11. People doh like when I talk but when the murder rate comes a “per hour” rate then…

  12. Everybody agrees that in order to reduce crime at all levels the syndicate must be broken and jailed. Then why does the govt still insist on pussyfooting. Are they afraid that they will be out of office one day and may be dealth with ? It’s either they were elected to deal with the cows or drink milk . Which is it ?

    • As I keep pointing out, if the citizens cannot differentiate between the businessmen, the politicians and the criminals, how are we going to deal with crime. Do our present office holders have any moral authority to be in office? And easy fodder to deflect/ricochet on to other side. Definition of madness-doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Why recycle politicians? The population small, but surely it bigger than about 50 ppl!

  13. Talk dat ish after Carnival. Right now We Doh Business.

  14. I have asked this question many times. If this is not a crisis then what is?

  15. When will the citizens rise up and demand that all Parliamentarians and stakeholders acts as a unified body to show the criminals we are making a concerted effort to deal with the crime. No calling on the government to act alone makes any sense. The politicking appears to be working for someone(s), This is 40 years in the making that has come home to roost. This is not only drug related, but domestic violence and simply angry people. So many things are wrong, but has been long time coming. We are reaping what successive government more so a nation has sown I continue to pray for my nation. When a nation moves away from God , this is the consequence. When Man stops prayer in schools and turn to his own idols, he grieved the Lord’s heart. Greed and corruption reign supreme, now everyone want’s miracle from the government. Typical reactionary solutions. Since when hanging is a deterrent? Whats our problem? Always plasters on sores, not the root of the problem. White collar criminals free but black criminals killing each other. What is our responsibility ?

  16. Yuh know the ole saying?
    “What is joke fuh CoP Williams is death fuh Asami and Shannon and dem”!

  17. Crisis for Williams is when they come for he and he family

  18. As VS would say, Stephen Williams has to paddle his own canoe.
    The incompetence around him in other sectors does not excuse his incompetence.
    If the police were detaining people who were getting off because of the corruption or failures of the judicial system, then that is one thing. But he isn’t.
    How is the police helping right now?
    Stephen Williams ent the only one who should go. But he is certainly on that list of people who should go and graze in the pastures.

  19. I’m beginning to think that the CoP views crime from an alternative facts perspective…

  20. Why are we coming down on the acting com. Of police Mr Williams after all the man acting and what do actors do just act a role that the rehearse for.

  21. Having clueless persons forming this government to govern this country is a major crisis

  22. The whole country could get kill!!! We go party!!! We jamming still, we jamming still…

  23. I was going to joke that there has been a huge drain on the financial resources of TTPS due to the large increase of use of yellow crime scene tape! Then I realized that this is, indeed, a factor. Every murder investigation will eat up money that should be spent on crime prevention. Therefore, we’re in a downward spiral. The more crime, the less money we have to fight it. Somehow we must turn this around. Maybe we should have a limited SOE just so we can break that cycle. But only if there is a plan at the end of it so that the resources are correctly spent.

    • Kevin that’s the point there’s NO plan. What’s worst is that the citizens can’t figure out where the start. The average citizen says the same thing “fire the police commissioner”. Very few speak about creating a different national security system and process. Last week I went back through several older posts and the point about a different criminal justice system and process was mentioned once. NO PLAN and we like that there isn’t a plan

    • Brian Harry to be honest, the whole system needs to be replaced. Many of the problems are the people inside the system. I really believe this can only be accomplished by bringing people from outside.

    • I think we have people here with the capability to do it. They just need the respect necessary.

    • Kevin Harrison Quite right you are Kevin. It’s always an inside job.

    • Lasana Liburd…we always have qualified and competent people. It’s whether they are given an opportunity. Keep in mind coming from within the system, you know the strengths and weaknesses, and that in itself is a challenge. Many people do not have the strength of character to stand up against the crowd. And that is what you need to do to succeed, because clearly what we have been doing is not working.

    • Nerisha Mohammed truly competent people, confident in their capability don’t acquiesce

  24. Why not ask who’s responsible for evaluating the Chief Justice, minister of national security, national security council and all the other state and parastatal organizations that are responsible for the decay of social systems which is where crime originates and criminals are created. By the time police gets involved the crime has already been committed. They don’t get involved before. The DPP is a deadbeat look at how long it takes for warrants of arrest to be provided. The police has a big role but that’s not where it starts – they are one piece of the puzzle and unfortunately they are the piece at the end nit the beginning. So when we get a new one who’s good crime will sow???? Hmmmmm. Really?

    • Because the police are the first responders to reported criminal activity. The DPP’s office is underfunded and understaffed, so is the Forensic Science Center diminishing their capacity to handle the workloads they are tasked with. Sometimes I prefer to ask a series of simple questions in order to better comprehend complex problems.
      You will have to bear with me.

    • Vernal Damion Cadogan i agree there but by the time they respond the damage is done. I want to see a system wide fix that begins to address the deeper causative influences. We not in disagreement but I don’t see a different commissioner getting better results

    • I am always at a loss to understand why the population fails to realize that we do have first responders and they’re called the POLICE; whose motto is “To Protect and Serve.” You know that we are in partisan land when the CoP makes a statement to the effect that “We’re not in a crisis” and people see subliminal messages in there to blame the government. We have had protests over dying persons (females) yet no one is marching in the streets asking the TTPS or its head to do their job or demit office. Clearly, it is easier to blame the politician, as ineffectual as they can be, for everything and let those who have the mandate to protect and serve off the hook.

    • Brian Harry…the Commissioner can only make a difference if they have the respect of the people under them, set policies, and implement transparent mechanisms for accountability. They should be skilled negotiators to advocate for additional resources to improve effectiveness. From the bunch we have seen so far, I am not sure changing commissioners would make a difference unless these are met.

    • Nerisha Mohammed agreed! That’s all I’ve been trying to say. Fire the commissioner and the murder rate is the same. Remember it was past 500 a few years ago

    • I am not sure if the issue for some is who the commissioner is. He has not done himself any favours by some of the statements he has made either.

    • At the very least he has added insult to injury, at the worse hehas provided incompetent leadership.

    • How is the Chief Justice implicated in the crime situation, pray tell?

    • It seems no one in the justice system is implicated Nigel, that might be the problem.

  25. Who is responsible for evaluating the CoP, the CoP?