“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:
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?
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.’
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.
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!