Day Nine: The nation of “red, white and black” is still blue about the inability of the men in khaki to catch Dana Seetahal’s dark-hearted killers. So why exactly has the National Alert State moved from “Yellow” to “Green?”
According to the National Security Ministry: the National Operations Centre, which is the agency responsible for coordinating multi-agency operations, advised Minister Gary Griffith to further advise the National Security Council of “the need to deescalate the National Alert State to Green.”
This, according to the release, is “in light of the stringent measures employed by the various arms of the Ministry of National Security… in the ongoing investigation of the Dana Seetahal SC homicide.”
Excuse my French; but which cacahuète thinks that the Police Service and other crime fighting bodies should put its feet up for merely spending a week thinking about solving a murder and without a single arrest to show for it? Are criminals cowering simply because the police held a few press conferences?
Okay, strictly speaking, “cacahuète” means peanut; but Mr Live Wire always felt it sounded too delicious a word to be wasted on the snack that “Jumbo” threw at people during football and cricket matches.
Griffith knows a thing or two about changing the ordinary meaning of words to signify his own fantasies. So, presumably after watching “The Sum of All Fears”, Captain Peacock had the National Security Ministry install a Colour by Numbers chart last December.
The scale listed: White or Zero as “no danger”, Green or One as “vague threat”, Yellow or Two as “possible threat”, Orange or Three as “high chance of threat” and Red or Four as “national alert.”
Several things immediately come to mind; a few of them are printable.
When is it ever a good idea to tell your security forces that there is “no danger?” Why is Trinidad and Tobago not constantly in “Orange” mode? Is there any meaningful difference between “vague threat” and “possible threat” and what did the police do last week to “achieve” the former?
Did this colour warning have anything to do with the public? Or is it about how safe Griffith and his Cabinet colleagues felt at the time?
And shouldn’t Griffith put his crayons down and spend more time trying to offer citizens the security that the People’s Partnership promised four years ago?
“In many counties such as the United States and the United Kingdom there are alert states,” said Griffith, “to help keep national security officials well informed and well prepared for varying eventualities.”
Mr Live Wire would like to “advise” Captain Peacock that it might be a good idea to keep national security officials well informed and prepared on a daily basis; not just when a Senior Counsel is murdered.
Oh yeah; and also the United States’ Homeland Security dropped its own colour-coded threat levels three years ago after it became considered a dark joke and waste of time.
“They don’t tell people what they can do—they just make people afraid,” security issues expert Bruce Schneier told the New York Times.
In the United States, the threat level generally ranged between yellow (significant risk) and orange (high risk). Somehow Trinidad and Tobago, with one of the highest global murder rates per capita, has spent most of its time under the banner of “vague threat.”
And what the hell was different about the week T&T spent under the Amber or Yellow light anyway?
According to the National Security Ministry, Griffith’s colour chart was “established for all security agencies to respond in a timely, appropriate and coordinated manner to a threat affecting national security, initiating rapid, effective and efficient deployment of resources to mitigate to identified threat.”
Presumably, our present Green state is closer to “Casual Friday” at most State agencies where everyone seems to be either heading to lunch, on lunch or digesting lunch.
According to a Trinidad Express article last week, the local police were mystified about Griffith’s colour code and had not received specific instructions about what it meant.
“We know that there was a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday so there were measures that would have been discussed,” said an unnamed police inspector. “But as yet there have been no new instructions reaching the police stations.”
Is gross incompetence not a sackable offence in the PP Cabinet? If not, isn’t there some woman who filled out a housing application in the National Security Ministry’s bathroom or has the sudden urge to meet Griffith at Grand Bazaar?
There is a dashing, married Minister who urgently needs to be relieved of his portfolio. Come on, Sacha Singh, Trinidad and Tobago needs you.