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STREET VIBE: If TTPS can’t protect their own info, how can we trust them with our lives?

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.

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

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.

Photo: Wait... Was I supposed to be writing something down?
Photo: Wait… Was I supposed to be writing something down?

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.

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)

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.

About Rudy Chato Paul Sr

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr, is passionate about gardening, music and writing and boasts post-graduate certification in Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology. He also studied Theology, which is why he is actively seeking to make Trinidad a better place rather than waiting for divine intervention. 

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14 comments

  1. The TTPS’ challenges are no secret. In fact, the latest attempt at long-term planning by the government, (Vision 2030), admits the organization is impotent, (my word), and needs serious work to meet its mandate.
    Don’t anyone dare recollect either Prof. Stephen Mastrofski or, the last man to hold the full title of CoP!

    I wouldn’t pay much attention to a leaked operational plan as it is more of the same attitude that allows an officer to post pictures of a prisoner’s genitals with a false story. How about requisitioning a marked police vehicle and going to rob a man while in uniform?

    Besides, I think roadblocks, as practiced by the TTPS, are literally a waste of time. Nor do I agree with the article’s premise that the document had to have been leaked by a high-ranking officer. Given the perceived trapping of rank, would such an officer take any document to any copier?

    Look no further than the recent murder of Melissa Mohammed-Ramkissoon for more frightful signs of the impotency of the TTPS.

    The crime scene as reported? A car. In it with the victim is the now omnipresent close male relative augmented with a new player; a distant male relative. Each is pointing to the other saying, “is not me kill she, is he”.

    What else does the police need to solve this murder?

    They have the car and the gun. They know who was sitting in what seat and where the bullet entered Melissa’s body. And, they have the evidence from those folks in white outfits and nose masks, (why?), who run around at murder scenes. So they take the case to the DPP who runs them out his office.

    Wait, let me answer that last question: They need a confession.

    How about two?

    Why don’t each relative say he did it?

    Alone.

    I’d love to see if the TTPS self-destructs with that novelty.

    Fear not fair Trinis! The Vision 2040 document will address transforming the TTPS.

  2. Is that a rhetorical question?

  3. and Look whos hands it fell into

  4. Same shit i was saying when the memo was leaked lastweek.

  5. That was sad . Has the new Ag COP in charge of central taken up duties ?

  6. Earl Best

    Rudy, Are we certain it is a horse in the first place. Sounds more like a cousin that brays rather than neighs…

  7. Storm in a teacup you can’t cast aspersions on an entire organisation I find this article ridiculous to say the least just plain simple arm chair journalism without any credibility

    • It is a column. Almost by definition, it is practically supposed to be an “arm chair” view.
      But are you saying that this is the only example of inept behavior by the TTPS? Because the author points out some every other week.
      It would be incredible if you think this is the only example of less than stellar behavior by the TTPS.