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DALY BREAD: Coming for someone! How institutionalised corruption led to our violent reality

The public has long ago figured out, but not accepted, that the police cannot catch anybody for murder except for some obvious domestic violence assailants and small fry.

Even then, there is ground for suspicion that the small fry are taking the fall for bigger accomplices or for those covering up something significant, like human trafficking or murder for hire.

Photo: A crime boss relaxes in the shadows.
Photo: A crime boss relaxes in the shadows.

Last week we had the spectacle of Edmund Dillon and Wayne Dick, Minister of National Security and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) respectively, loudly telling off a self-proclaimed informer for creating “a sense of unease” and for “disrespect”.

My first column this year was entitled ‘Left over dick’. Not surprisingly we are still plagued by those leftovers.

Shouting down inquiries about the acts and omissions of law enforcement is standard practice. Likewise, when it is revealed that officials, their families or known associates are involved in slackness, every effort is made to disparage the person who reveals it.

What was more disturbing, some days before, was a manifestation of the extent to which citizens must now live in the certain knowledge that “coming for someone” is an established feature of everyday life in any neighbourhood. This was reflected in the reported remarks of a resident of a densely-populated area where there was a drive-by shooting with much “pow, pow, pow” at 7.30 in the evening.

I quote the reported remarks because I believe they demonstrate that we now live at the mercy of the bad guys and not under the protection of the State. This condition is another manifestation of the form of coup d’état that has already occurred and against which I had been warning more than ten years ago—even before a Prime Minister dismissed the murder of a bystander as “collateral damage”.

Now, as appears from the quotation below, the potential for collateral damage has grown.

Photo: Another lifeless body heads to the morgue.
Photo: Another lifeless body heads to the morgue.

Residents were reportedly still “coming to terms with the method utilised by the gunmen”, as though there is a protocol for murder. One resident reportedly said as follows:

“If you come for someone go for that person. That happen at about 7:30pm. People children were still on the roadways. This whole thing could have taken an even more tragic turn for the worse, if someone child had pick up a bullet.

“You have your war with someone, that’s already bad by itself but keep it to that person. Don’t be including innocent people in your war. They shot so haphazardly last night that anyone could have picked up. As horrible as it may sound, I have to say thank God it wasn’t more people who died.

“Them gunmen didn’t care about anyone, they saw their target and shot at the man, with zero regard for who grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, brother, son, children, was in the way. That is madness.”

In addition, there was much talk and cross talk last week about “corrupt cops”.  An astonishing statement was made that “corrupt cops don’t kill anybody”—in pretended ignorance of the murders that inevitably flow if corrupt cops protect illicit operations that give rise to turf war and gang killings and also hinder investigations.

Also in January this year, I tried to demarcate what are the respective responsibilities of the Minister of National Security and the police.

Photo: Senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service during an address by then National Security Minister John Sandy in 2010. Involved in serious discussion about protecting and serving? (Courtesy News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service during an address by then National Security Minister John Sandy in 2010. Involved in serious discussion about protecting and serving?
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

It remains a pressing matter for the National Security Council and the Minister of National Security to consult on and bring before Parliament new constitutional arrangements for the management and operation of the Police Service.

These new arrangements must not only have effective policing as their objective. They must target corruption. As indicated last week, the existence of the rogue element in the police service is well documented since 1991.

For example, the 1993 Scotland Yard inquiry into our police service found the practice of “using rank to frustrate honest police action and grant concessions is an irregular but repeating occurrence that can generate large bonuses.”

I have previously mentioned the work of Guyanese born Professor Ivelaw Griffith, work that is probably as valuable, or even more so, than the metropolitan experts that we love so much.

In his paper, published in 1997 in the Penn State International Law Review, to which I referred earlier this year, citing the 1993 Scotland inquiry and other sources, Griffith adopted one definition of law enforcement corruption in the Caribbean as being institutionalised:

“Corruption becomes institutionalised when individuals within an institution are complicit in the trade and the institution acts as a shield against accountability.”

Photo: Bribery has long plagued Trinidad and Tobago's public sector. (Copyright Canadian Business)
Photo: Bribery has long plagued Trinidad and Tobago’s public sector.
(Copyright Canadian Business)

Arguably the entire establishment in our society is complicit either by giving dishonest assistance, or at least by being wilfully blind and happily sucking the juicy fruit of unduly influenced contracts and assorted freeness. That’s why items resembling cocaine pellets can be removed from a person’s stomach in a private nursing home without an appropriate response or investigation.

Not a Dick raised his voice about that.

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation, a board member of The Little Carib Theatre and Folkhouse and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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21 comments

  1. Am fed up with the lowly target “the Police”, who are the big wigs, Mr Bigs?
    So many illegal guns, articles and persons all the time; when last you heard a Customs Officer, Immigration Officer charged or brought to account for anything?
    As for Daly and his holier than though “soapbox” which he preaches from, are you hearing him calling for the investigations into Ramlogan, Ramdeen, Robinson or any Attorney to be reigned in or brought to account? Attorneys are being reported on a regular basis, Magistrates are making decisions that are quite alarming almost daily (Daley); is there a hue and a cry? The Law Assn and its disciplinary committee is farcical to say the least..barkless, toothless. The Attorney (Campbell) who was charged for fraud this week gone, is a low hanging fruit. Imagine he was implicated for similar offences a few years ago, allowed to repay the victims, dis-barred for a few years, then allowed to come back to practice. When a Police officer is caught defrauding, or recieving a bribe or similar offences, he is immediately suspended and when found guilty is a Police no more.
    Those caught up in Prisongate or witness tampering are still allowed to continue in their practice and even obscenly awarded with “Senatorship”. So while the Police cleaning house, in 2016 over 30 Police Officers are before the Courts, dont forget to count those who have lost their jobs. And we have a man in charge from the “West” want to play a starring role to look for “errant Police”, a job Police Professional Standards Bureau is aptly performing. He watching too much CSI, and TV on a whole. Instead of working along and strenghtening what is (Police Complaints and PSB) wants a gun, badge and a horse.

    Back to his Lordship Daly, (Mr morals), why cant we get 5, 6, 7 or even 10 of his kind to form an Integrity Commission to bring down or bring into line those in high office when they go afoul of what is required of High Officeholders. I saw someone say fish rotting from the head, but where is the head? If the highest Officeholders cannot be held to account, who can. Oh yes, we can throw up smokescreens and say Police Police, yet a CoP cannot be appointed.

    Imagine at least 5 Prisons Commissioners and at least 3 Fire Chiefs and the same amount of Chiefs of Defence Staffs have demitted office yet we cant appoint one, yes 1, uno CoP. Simply put, all the other services despite its internal Politics is responsible for its own head, along with Service Commission. Since the Politicising of the head of the Police service, we are in this dilemma, and it seems for a particular agenda “keep Policing in a mess or disarray” . The Police had that transition of Commissioners until Snaggs….then Politics intervened..

    Over to Mr Daley…my nomination to strenghten the Laws of the Integrity Commission and to head that Organisation/Body….thats the HeadOfTheFish.

    • Quote: it seems for a particular agenda “keep Policing in a mess or disarray”
      That’s a very interesting quote and definitely thought provoking, especially as it has remaining just so for two governments now.
      Although you say Daly can easily point fingers elsewhere, it doesn’t mean he is wrong with his assessment of what is wrong in the TTPS.

    • What is wrong with the Police Service, that isnt wrong with the Society? I mentioned two essential agencies, Customs and Immigration, what devastating effects that the influx of Illegal Immigrants and Illegal and Uncustomed goods have on crime and the economy..

    • All must be taken as one, its a whole picture. So its the Police you say is the main contributing factor, the mainstay of crime and the economy. I dealt with extensively with the Police issue, that wasnt noted, also with the issue of “fish rotting from the head”. The head if you think its the head of the Police Service, its a narrow minded view of a societal issue that is almost epidemic. How many Journalist were mentioned pandering to the last Govt, a whats in a brown bag or jump on others to get housing. I could go on and on with Institutions that compramise themselves and therefore contribute to our maliase.

      So until we recognize that its a all of our problem, we could “bring down the whole service” yet we will remain with ourselves and the contrubuting factors. I heard the “West man” suggesting that UWI students apply to join the Police to bring some professionialism and integrity to it; its a laughable and assidious suggestion. For the Police Servive has per capita the most University Graduates than any Organisation in Trinidad thats not a Teaching Institution…so I say to all, hasten the Police agenda and we will see what we will end up with.

    • Okay. I can’t argue with your points there at all Andy. The Police Service is in disarray. Or at the least, it isn’t properly functioning. But so is most of Trinidad and Tobago society.

  2. If the police could put out a press release that citizens who are victims of extortion from the ILLEGAL vendors on the highway are to report them to the police and it’s business as usual from the vocal social groups and ordinary citizens, then perhaps we getting what we deserve.

  3. These articles are getting tired. Yes there’s corruption within the police service. That and the behavior of the young men in Laventille, Enterprise etc – all true. But we know that it goes way beyond those named folks. So the corruption amongst those in high places is ok and has no effect, right? The impotence of the judiciary, has no effect, right? Every week same thing – almost like these writers want us to look away from something . Sorry but ….. it’s much bigger than that

    • Seems to me that people not even going before the judiciary for such matters. And the law enforcement issues are wrecking cases too.
      Not that I’m not saying there isn’t corruption in the judiciary. There is corruption everywhere. Look at the HDC and the media, for instance.

    • Yes but that’s my point! Whenever we see this level of crime in any jurisdiction, there’s involvement from senior public officials and members of the judicial services. These guys chose to talk only about police and criminals. Why for example does the police turn their eyes away from certain crimes? The drug bust in monos island remains a secret because we know that no police or Laventille criminal owned that house! Successive governments told us they know Mr Big. So I stated clearly in my response that the police have to do better but I’m also saying ‘it started way above their pay grade and will not end with firing them all and importing a set of clean police!’

    • Exactly Brian Harry, its getting to the point where they want us to become accustomed so the white comlar criminals can have free reign. Typical example – the DPP are setting up a south office in Gulf City Mall, of all the places. The Guardian article intimated that iy was recommended by the AG of all people..I wonder why

  4. We are far down the slippery slope that leads us into the crashing wall of anarchy

  5. Fish do not rot from the tail , do the maths .

  6. Earl Best

    Martin,
    The national condition is impotence. The Minister of National Security walks around with a highly visible DCP named Dick for company and himself has the initials ED.

    Given that brief synopsis, you don’t seriously expect anything to be raised, do you?