“The refusal to implement 21st century ideology into the police force means a continuation of a weak police infrastructure. It means a continuation of the lack of accountability within a sector that has a rogue element that undermines its performance.
“When we continue inanely with systems that have failed us, the only explanation is that hands are tied by the real power brokers of the country.”
The following Letter to the Editor on the perceived limited thinking by the State in tackling crime was submitted to Wired868 by Sheldon Waithe:
A limited State of Emergency? Really? We did not learn from the last instance when this ultimate power in our Constitution was subject to heinous abuse and rolled out without explanation.
It is another glaring piece of evidence that we truly exchange one government for another, so we can expect the same toothless thinking from above. That it is being suggested from quarters outside the walls of Parliament points to the desperation of a helpless nation.
The State of Emergency of 2011 was a period where no long term or meaningful crime fighting initiatives were implemented; the then Government relied on the restriction of movement placed upon the entire nation to bring a stop to the murders and then crowed that between August and October there was a reduction in murders.
Even by the standard of this nation’s blind culture, it is absurd to expect that people would not see through the glaring hole that the idea to attack the daily erosion of our people, is to remove the rights of the entire population—and even then, it would not be used to implement a strategy that can ably tackle crime.
Any Trinbagonian government should recognise that once the normal failing national security system is back in place, then as a consequence the normal abysmal homicide rate would also be back in place.
The State of Emergency—begging your pardon, ‘Limited’—is supposed to show the seriousness of the government’s intent. A facade that there may be a crime plan on the horizon, so that in effect it masks the fact that there is no—and never was—a crime plan? We cannot go that route once again.
Trinidad and Tobago cannot have a strategic, meaningful crime plan until we have a government made up of individuals who are prepared to make the harsh decisions that can put a dent into crime.
The root causes of crime are not those persons killing or being killed as part of our daily headlines, they are not the ones with the network—it does not have to be elaborate to get past our current security systems—to bring in the weapons and drugs.
So, a government that is not prepared to target the root causes of crime cannot declare nor implement a crime plan, because that crime plan is doomed to failure. And a failed crime plan is bad Public Relations.
The reason that successive governments have not declared any type of long term action to tackle crime in this nation is that they cannot. The refusal to adopt a zero tolerance policy means playing into the hands at the end of the corruptive tentacles that run deep into every part of the society and that facilitates the inaction against the root causes of crime and more specifically, murders.
How else do we explain governments—whether PNM, UNC or PP—refusing to take the hardline against crime?
The nation remains anchored with the appalling level of corruption in the society that means from the very top there is a culture of no accountability and therefore no reprimand.
In the decades of T&T’s existence as a drugs capital, there has not been a single example of any major individual being tried and forced to serve time for the deeds that have also led to us being a murder capital of the world.
It is a pipe dream, for we would have to live in a society that was prepared to arrest such persons in the first instance, having targeted them and gained evidence.
The refusal to implement 21st century ideology into the police force means a continuation of a weak police infrastructure. It means a continuation of the lack of accountability within a sector that has a rogue element that undermines its performance.
When we continue inanely with systems that have failed us, the only explanation is that hands are tied by the real power brokers of the country.
What is the resistance to aid in the appointing of a permanent Commissioner of Police?
Or taking the logical approach of recognising that we simply do not have the ability within these borders to turn the tide against crime—the ever increasing murder rate over decades proves this, even if the current Acting Commissioner refuses to recognise that we are in crisis—and so we can import the expertise, mechanisms and personnel untainted by our local corruption?
The murder problem will take time to resolve, that can be appreciated, but at the moment there is nothing being done. Nothing.
Where do the Government and Opposition see this trajectory taking us if they do not deem the current situation to be of crisis proportions and to be tackled as the number one priority?
It is wrong to state that they are all clueless about tackling widespread crime; the correct assessment is that they are—for whatever reasons—unwilling to tackle rampant crime. Full stop.
Jamaica—whose crime rate we once used as a warning bell—is preparing to produce its strategic long term crime plan while T&T tries to sweep the blood under the carpet with stats about violence being down or subliminal admissions that really, there is nothing that the forces feel they can do to alleviate the situation.
The better approach would be to admit the problem, admit the inadequacies, then own it and change it.
Trinidad and Tobago is truly the land of limbo, for that is where our crime plan exists and every day the bar goes a little lower…