There’s an old joke about when one discovers he or she is riding a dead horse, and the general consensus is to dismount. However, when dealing with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the same scenario presents itself, a number of strategies are employed.
They include—but are not limited to—changing riders, declaring that the horse is not dead, arguing that the horse is better, faster and cheaper when dead, or simply promoting the dead horse.
Quite a number of other options are also acceptable and coincidentally coincide with the TTPS’ strategy for dealing with the many issues we face from day to day.
Take for example, the issue over the long weekend which engaged the attention of the TTPS. Apparently, they had on the drawing board several initiatives planned, to help insure citizens enjoy a ‘crime free’ Easter weekend.
Ironically, whereas ‘crime free’ was once reserved for Carnival, apparently it has now been upgraded to include long holiday weekends. Matters little that for the rest of the year, bodies pile up at Forensics Science Center, anywhere between the rates of four to twelve in a 24 hours period.
And so we were semi-reliably informed by the TTPS that someone had leaked information of their initiatives, including the locations, time and personnel, to the social media.
From all indications, it is clear that such information was never in the hands of civilians, or even lower rank personnel. It thus stands to reason that said leak was perpetrated by a senior person(s) in this organisation; someone with access to the information. And, of course, we were also semi-reliably informed that an investigation will ensue and the perpetrator(s) will be disciplined.
Anyone still wondering why this organisation cannot be taken seriously? I cannot help but laugh, if only to avoid crying over the magnitude of professional incompetence.
As a professional limer, over the weekend I interacted with a few hundred people; between the sports days, beach, river limes etc. I made it my business to ask everyone I interacted with if they had any confidence that the TTPS’ “investigation” will bear any positive results insofar as the “leak.” The response was unanimous. No one believed them.
It is against this backdrop that the TTPS seeks to gather information from citizens on crime and criminal activities on the condition of anonymity. If senior officers cannot be trusted with a simple thing such as a planned traffic exercise schedule over a long, holiday weekend, can they be trusted with information about drug deals which usually involve large quantities of drugs, cash and some firearms?
It is commonly believed that many of the drug blocks across this nation are operational precisely because of the support from members of the TTPS. Whether this is accurate or not matters little. But when everyone in the community knows where the drug block is, who runs it, etc, yet the police seem impotent to do anything about it, are citizens wrong to assume that police officers are on the payrolls?
And if they are running it, and some undoubtedly are, then aren’t citizens risking their lives by making a call or report?
If to this day it cannot be determined who was behind the day of “total policing,” on 23 March 2015—despite parliamentary hearings, committees, and sub-committees—should we expect anything to come of a leaked police exercise?
The dead horse strategy is alive and well; perhaps they can declare that no horse is too dead to beat. I was recently reminded of an old horse unable to turn off a phone on an airplane.
Until and unless the head of this organisation—acting or not—takes the proverbial bull by the horns and start firing people, rank notwithstanding, for their consistent incompetence, such nonsense will continue despite the best weekly PR show put on by his organisation.
Asking for citizens’ cooperation, while members of the organisation appear to be consistently working to discredit the organisation will never help to bridge the divide between the TTPS and society.
Sending senior men on preretirement leave, with all accrued benefits intact, as is normal, is not incentive enough for them to do the right thing. They must be fired forthwith.
At least we would be recognised as knowing how to treat with dead horses.