“In this small twin island state, where almost every Monday morning someone else goes missing—usually a young lady between the ages of 14 and 16 years old—it is indeed quite discomforting to see rewards being posted for assistance in only locating some people, while other families are ignored, neglected and abandoned often with not so much as a visit from the anti-kidnapping squad/unit.
“The implicit message is that some people are definitely worth more than others. For a society that begins each day reminding us that ‘every creed and race…’ the concept of equality is surely questionable—at best.”
The following Letter to the Editor questioning Crime Stoppers’ policy of offering financial rewards in only some missing person cases was submitted to Wired868 by Rudy Chato Paul, Sr of D’Abadie:
It was observed that “Crime Stoppers” has offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the location of Ms Ria Sookdeo, the young lady from Debe, who went missing two months ago; a noble effort indeed.
I have also been observing, quietly, from the sidelines, this organisation’s selective approach at offering rewards for person who ‘go missing.’
One cannot help but wonder about the criterion used to determine whether a reward will be offered or not, since rewards are not offered as incentives to locate information on all of the many persons who “go missing.”
In this small twin island state, where almost every Monday morning someone else goes missing—usually a young lady between the ages of 14 and 16 years old—it is indeed quite discomforting to see rewards being posted for assistance in only locating some people, while other families are ignored, neglected and abandoned often with not so much as a visit from the anti-kidnapping squad/unit.
The implicit message is that some people are definitely worth more than others. For a society that begins each day reminding us that ‘every creed and race…’ the concept of equality is surely questionable—at best.
For too long this nation has recognised that there are two distinct classes, or is as much easier acknowledged, two different types of justice systems: one for the well-to-do—real or perceived—and another for the ‘others.’
These arbitrary lines, in my analysis, are established from as early as one’s entrance into high school, whether one attends a prestige or government school. Some argue that it starts earlier.
However, most of one’s life chances are determined by this single factor, as we observe year in year out with the number of scholarships awarded to the respective schools. Yet, ritualistically, year in year out, those at the helm of the Ministry of Education seem surprised at such glaring disparities, and are often left ‘wondering’ about the causes.
The glaring disparities are also seen in the conditions of the neighbourhoods in which the “others” live, as opposed to the well-to-do. It is built into simple things like the conditions of the roads, access to water, and whether the police are seen as an occupying force or not; the enemy aka Babylon.
It is also seen in the State-run health institutions, where the chances of dying are dramatically amplified relative to the worst of the privately-run health care facilities. Ironically, it is often the same medical staff employed at both state-run and private health facilities.
And, of course, the prison system which is overcrowded with people of one social class, which merely serves to validate the view held by many of the well-to-do, that poor people are basically criminals; leaving many to theorise that ‘poverty causes crime.’
One cannot help but wonder if such reasoning is at the top of Crime Stopper’s list when seeking to ascertain and determine whether a reward should be offered in seeking the public’s assistance in locating particular persons; or whether making such a reward available is a complete waste of time?
One may recall Dana Seetahal’s case where a reward of TT$1M was offered—virtually overnight.
For the sake of clarity, I am in no way arguing that rewards cannot be used to incentivise and or gather information on persons who go missing. What I am questioning is the seemingly arbitrary manner in which this is done—I am going out on a limb here and assume that Crime Stoppers is being funded by State funds, our tax dollars.
Or is it that Crime Stoppers treat missing, young persons, like the police do: as mere run-aways? While a few young people may indeed “run away”, the rate at which persons go missing in this land is simply unacceptable.
Assuming missing persons are run-aways, reflects the lethargy of the TTPS.
That human trafficking is real—despite claims by persons at the Ministry of National Security that it’s not—is insulting to families of victims who are left years later still trying to come to terms with their loved ones’ disappearance.
Most families have a difficult time coping with their loved ones’ disappearance. Their lives are never the same.
A colleague of mine, a mature professional female, disappeared without so much as a dime being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to her recovery, despite her vehicle being located and her credit cards found in the possession of a few persons.
It is high time that Crime Stoppers explain to this nation how our money is being spent and the criterion used. Until then, citizens will have a difficult time recognising them as legitimate and professional.