National Security Minister Gary Griffith has supposedly had another eureka moment. Armoured sports utility vehicles; that is what Griffith thinks Trinidad and Tobago needs.
“The plan is to fight fire with fire and go into the ultimate hotspot areas and take the fight back to the so-called gang leaders,” Griffith told the Trinidad Express, “who actually have the impression that certain areas and communities belong to them.”
The tanks should be perfect if Trinidad and Tobago’s main security issue was officers being gunned down in the line of the duty. Only statistics show that detection and the security of witnesses are rather more pressing.
So, unless those tanks will house frightened families who are considering turning State witnesses or are handy at charming members of the underworld into snitching, Mr Live Wire thinks Griffith should rent another cop movie.
Perhaps a flick where policemen gather evidence and actually have something to charge “so-called gang leaders” with would do nicely.
Trinidad and Tobago’s “War on Crime” has now gone from anacondas to blimps to OPVs to light aircrafts to pimped-out SUVs.
What about if the National Security Minister offered meaningful salary increases that would be implemented only if the Police Service agreed to be held to stricter penalties for non-performance? Think there might be anything in that Griffith? Does it sound familiar?
If indeed it does sound oddly familiar, it is because the last crime fighter extraordinaire, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, suggested as much when he visited to Trinidad, just eight months ago.
“It’s three things that work for no money: a tool, a fool or a mule,” said Bratton, during a meeting in Port of Spain. “Compensation issues are critical. I, during my career, have to struggle under financial stress so the more you can relieve your personnel of the burden of good housing, good health care and school you will be sure they will be the best that they can be.
“It is no small issue, poorly paid police are drawn to corruption.”
The Government paid Bratton $1.64 million for that advice and decided to go for tanks instead.
It is easy to pocket kickbacks from lavish purchases; but how on earth does any Government Minister or “hanger-on” get sweeteners from salary increases?
Presumably, Griffith decided Bratton was out-of-tune with the local culture and went shopping for toys instead.
And nothing says “help us to help you” more than rolling armoured tanks into neighbourhoods.
“We will be going in very hard with clinical precision with a special operation group,” said Griffith.
And the person leading the “clinical precision” strikes, by all evidence, is a man that couldn’t find a Carib in a rum shop.