Johnny-be-good: Superintendent oversees five slayings in one week

Finally, Trinidad and Tobago is getting the police service it wants and deserves. Whether it is the police service that the country needs is another question entirely.

On Monday, a 20-year-old mother of one, Shantel Ali Bocus, and 35-year-old Marvin Trotman were brought before a San Fernando Magistrate for smoking in an enclosed public place; or, to be specific, the Kansas City Recreational Club in Marabella.

The court heard that Trotman, when informed of his offence, told arresting constable Devon Meah: “One Du Maurier officer. Gimme a bligh nah.”

Photo: Ahem... Where there is smoke, there is fire, right?
Photo: Ahem… Where there is smoke, there is fire, right?

He must have mistaken Meah for Iwer George.

The paperwork and cost of police and court resources cost infinitely more than the cigarette in question—notwithstanding the health of the pub’s no-doubt upstanding patrons. But Meah felt that having them put out their cigarettes was insufficient punishment.

If only Meah, with his passion for clean lungs, was investigating the oil spills in south Trinidad.

But, in this country, smoking a cigarette in a pub could lead to a three-year prison term whereby polluting entire villages gets you an “oops”; and ex-Sport Minister Anil Roberts can retain his Cabinet post despite enjoying more exotic smokes on camera while Minister Vasant Bharath lectures the press to mind its own business.

Local lawmen are very selective when it comes to administering their zero tolerance policy.

“Now is the time to go after the big fish,” said National Security Minister Gary Griffith, on the same Monday.

Griffith did not say why the hell the last four years were bad for fishing.

Mr Live Wire suspects that somewhere between the empty exuberance of the National Security Minister and a constable who puts a 20-year-old woman in handcuffs for a cigarette lies a hidden truth about Trinidad and Tobago’s fight with crime.

But Bocus and Trotman should thank their sweet Jesus that the policeman who confronted them was not Chaguanas CID senior superintendant Johnny Abraham.

Whatever flaws the Prime Minister and Attorney General think exist in the death penalty legislation at present, they need not let their hearts be troubled. Abraham seems to be getting along quite well in his apparent self-appointed role as executioner in central Trinidad.

Photo: Senior superintendent Johnny Abraham's job description may or not include the roles of judge, jury and executioner.
Photo: Senior superintendent Johnny Abraham’s job description may or not include the roles of judge, jury and executioner.

In the last six days, Abraham and lawmen operating in his district were responsible for five slayings in two separate incidents. Five for six are the kind of returns that get you in an extra-judicial hall of fame, redeployed to Gaza or a place alongside Sunil Narine in the West Indies cricket team.

Last Thursday, Abraham cornered two car thieves who supposedly prey on female drivers. They were supposedly armed although there was no suggestion that they fired a shot shot during their alleged robbery on the day or prior.

Both men were killed in a supposed exchange of gunfire with police. There was no mention of the weapons presumably seized.

Last night, Abraham told the press of another gun battle in Freeport that resulted in three more dead bodies and no survivors. The officers had gone to search for arms and ammunitions and, when the smoke cleared, policemen found two firearms and two bullet proof vests.

Presumably, the surprised men did not have time to put on their vests. Did they have time to reach for one of their guns? Or both?

Does it matter that at least one of the slain men was unarmed? Or that all five killed citizens were “suspects” rather than criminals since none had the chance to be heard and tried in a court of law?

And should we accept as gospel and without vigorous inquiry the word of lawmen who shoot dead unarmed men?

No information so far suggests that any of the five men had prior convictions. And, as columnist Akins Vidale pointed out in a previous blog, if policemen are gunning down hardened criminals at this rate; then why is the crime rate not falling?

If Abraham, Meah and Griffith are the answer, then remind me: what is the question?

Photo: You have three seconds to surrender yourselves to death...
Photo: You have three seconds to surrender yourselves to death…

In an increasingly lawless society in which criminals have no appreciation for innocent blood, the public bayed for an equally cold-blooded and uninhibited police force. The Prime Minister has declared a war for peace.

Senior superintendant Johnny Abraham certainly has the stomach for the job.

Of course, crime does not start and end with car thieves and pub smokers.

Mr Live Wire is waiting to hear when constable Meah drags ex-SPORTT Company CEO John Mollenthiel to court. Or Abraham has Anil Roberts’ house surrounded.

Editor’s Note: Mr Live Wire was suspected of committing a thought crime in the writing of his last column. Representatives of the satirical columnist have urged police to send anyone but Johnny Abraham to supervise his arrest.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Julie Guyadeen

    Do you remember good old Commissioner of Police, Jules Bernard?.. well I have been thinking for a while now he operating like Jules excep[t Bernard wasnt a very vocal person.. known criminals, suspects went missing, ended up dead inm the forrested areas of T&T.. it was rumoured he chased them and took them out, others said he lured them in the forest and executed them.. over the past decades since his departure many have said why cant we have a Commissioner like him?…we need to take the fight to the criminals!.. others disagree, saying that no one should take the law into their own hands…

  2. These incidents, along with the information in today’s Guardian that one of these men was involved in Dana’s assassination, further entrench the perception that the TTPS is incapable of bringing a resolution to any crimes that occur. Dead men tell no tales, and can mount no defense in court.

  3. The police job is to apprehend criminals. What is the Criminals job Lasana? To be docile, hand the police their guns and be apprehended. Maybe in some Utopian society but not in this real world. I always say a criminal is a murderer, because once they are coming to do their criminal act, if I as a normal citizen get in their way e.g. wake up while being robbed and try to protect my property they will quickly kill me to protect themselves and acquire my property. If as a police officer a criminal is firing at you, you fire back. Someone made the point of if the police are trained to shoot to avoid killing, well that one had me laughing, their answer was to shoot them in the leg. They need to do a little anatomy classes, major veins and arteries are located in the legs, once they are hit and blood is lost you can die. If the criminals stop what they are doing the police will have no need to shoot at them. Let’s don’t get distracted and lose the key point here. The problem is not with the police but with the criminals!!!!!!!!!! As with regards to the smoking, their is a law she is an adult, you break the law you have to do pay for it, as simple as that. One major problem in our country is that laws are made but they are not enforced. I say kudos to the officer for doing his job. It’s wonderful to be able to visit places without the stench of smoke, that alone is worth it apart from the legitimate reason for the law to prevent non-smokers from suffering the effects of secondary smoke and all its ill effects on the human body.

    • Lasana Liburd

      First, unless there is a jail break, police apprehend suspects not criminals. The courts deliver justice and determine who is innocent and guilty.
      I think this is the flaw in your thinking.
      I agree that smokers should not be allowed to ruin a good time for everyone else. I feel the police should try to defuse situations first. But, if they want to apply the letter of the law, no problem. But do it for EVERYONE.
      You say the police should be free to kill criminals. You agree with the death penalty for criminals. What is the penalty for the white collar crimes that leaves hospitals without medicine, equipment and beds?

  4. Quite sensitive it is! Yet essential. Responsible law enforcement is paramount in these times.
    TTPS must do its best to assure that police vigilantism is not seeping into its modus operandi. Policing is complex and critical to the public health of communities from what I have learned and experienced in my years.
    The more we encourage police to exercise extrajudicially in the field, the more the relationship between police and the people becomes strained. Therefore the objective of our communities and police should be about building bridges between communities and police.
    Responsible law enforcement must be tempered with, and based on, a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding any incident before approving deadly force.

  5. Damn! We cant even make a decent bullet. All this killing technology is imported. Look around you, every last bit of metal came here on a ship.. including the chains… Mental slavery is the worst crime… The victim is the perpetrator. Conversation Peace.

  6. As far as we know, the job of the police is to apprehend suspects so a court of law can determine whether they are innocent or guilty.
    Is it nitpicking to suggest that police remember that and do their best to apprehend rather than slay suspects?
    Sometimes, it is impossible to do. But that does not mean that the police should not try to do that everytime.
    It is not about whether the suspect is a good boy or rotten to the core.

  7. Good work Johnny. Next police commissioner

  8. The thing is when the bandits kills people, their
    Family don’t say a word, but when the police kill
    The bandits there is an outcry, !! He is a good BOY!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Mr Live wire complains when the police don’t work… And complains when they do…make up your mind…I think this is the first time I’ve read so much crap from Mr Livewire…. Terribly disappointed… If you want to support the criminals, go right ahead…, I for one know central is a lot safer with Johnny Abraham, and the only people who have anything to fear are the bandits and people who gain from them…,

  10. Smoking is against the law, if he gives one a Bligh on Monday then another will ask on tuesday. They broke the rules and he followed protocol. Yet this officer is placed in the same piece with alleged officers who are flaunting the law. Secondly if one is staying with friends and family with guns in their possession (knowingly or not) one is automatically in danger of encountering violence. While the story seems suspicious, 2 guns were not intended for charity work.

  11. Criminals killing innocent citizens being equated to police killing criminals… As far as I am concerned Johnny Abraham can spend my tax money on ammo any day.

  12. I was reading this post to my husband @ 6:00am Lasana. He thinks he has the answer to why no one been arrested from the SPORTT program!
    From the book ‘The wicked Wit of Winston Churchill:
    Page 41 refers to this warning letter of 11. Nov. 1937 of Churchill’s :
    Dictators ride to & fro upon tigers they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” (and he must have known the limerick: There was a lady of Riga/Who went for a ride on a tiger; They returned from the ride/ With the lady inside,/ And a smile on the face of the tiger.

  13. Why they don’t go into Valencia where they quarrying illegally?

  14. let us be candid ,which other police division can match the level of police shooting,let us analyse division by division which one has the the highest shooting by police’

  15. I always get suspicious when I hear a man with a knife trying to stab a handful of armed officers…

  16. Just today i posed a question to my husband. Are the “Police” trained to shoot only to kill? Are they trained at all in shooting to wound so that they can apprehend the suspect? Case in point one young man with a knife vs three armed police men with guns. Not one was able/ trained to shoot him in the leg ,arm or Thigh? Is there another “mongoose gang” on the loose? All he could to was shake his head. I have no answers for you Babe. Does the ACP have any or the AG or the Min of NS. I very much doubt it. I think they like it just so. God help us all.

  17. The law is applied pretty selectively don’t you think? The police are certainly very brave and proactive when it comes to mothers beating their children on Facebook or smoking at the bar.
    Not so brave with other criminals eh?

  18. Or someone catches it on a cameraphone.

  19. Kevin, I am not saying police do not have a difficult job. But they are supposed to apprehend suspects so they can tried in a court of law.
    If it seems that more suspects are being slain than arrested, then I think there is grounds for concern and hard questions.

  20. You should good deep sea diving. Very deep.

  21. Let the man go fishing, nuh. Everything is in good hands. Shoot to kill!

  22. In serious police departments officers involved in lethal gun fights with suspects are immediately placed on desk duty, their weapon seized and and inquiry commenced right away to ascertain the particulars of the event.

    In T&T the police kill a suspect and everyone says “thanks, no problem” no one ever asks a question……..that is until one of their loved ones is a victim of a lethal police shooting.

  23. trinis only want to obey certain laws that is the problem . law is law you break it you pay

  24. This is one of the best pieces I’ve read here. Want to say much more than I should. Thanks for this.

  25. That saying, damned if you do, damned if you dont, comes to mind.

  26. My hope is that TTPS policing does not become militarized like many police departments in the USA because you lose two key elements intrinsic to excellence in policing… citizens’ trust and sensitivity. Over here, it’s becoming citizens against officers. Officers are not protecting and serving the populace any more but only themselves particularly along racial lines. In T&T, those officers with high powered weaponry should only be seen when necessary and they should be reground regularly because I have a sense that their ego is influenced by the power those weapons make them falsely believe they have.

  27. Rather the police killing the criminals than the criminals killing me…

  28. Maybe JA protecting his patch too…

  29. None of us were there so we dont know what happened where the 3rd person was in relation to the others but it is unfair to those hardworking police officers for a brush to be paint across all of them….there will always be rogue officers but as an upstanding police officer myself i can tell u that it is in a minority…….

  30. Unfortunately, many T&T citizens are pleased with the modus operandi of central police division. I think we are heading down a slippery slope.

  31. Unfortunately, many T&T citizens are pleased with the modus operandi of central police division. I think we are heading down a slippery slope.

  32. when they lock up a youth for lil joint , no scenes , but lock up for cigarette smoking in a bar , which is against the law , alyuh bennin , buncha clongs

  33. iz against the law , ent allyuh wanted this law . ent allyuh want vision 2020 ? well this is what 1st world countries are doing .. maybe it not ready for 5th world tnt .

  34. Criminals never surrender to Abraham eh? They all seemingly rather shoot their way past a Supt with a fierce reputation than pay for a lawyer.
    Serves them right for being penny pinchers.
    But what about the unarmed man who was also shot dead? Because there were three dead bodies and two guns.
    Was he pointing his finger at the officers and saying “pow pow”?

  35. Ppl armed with guns I always ask non train folks what are the police to do??? I guess tell the gun men put their guns down…..this is the real world not Hollywood gun men shoot their way out eh just so u know

  36. is this a death squad operating under the guise of law enfrocement

  37. I would like to ask: Is this the police force that we want? Are we happy with this?

  38. Smoking=serious crime therefore it is down.

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