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Williams doh business! Daly slams excuses by acting Police Commissioner

If there had been a power outage in Port of Spain two Fridays ago, the energy from 3Canal’s Carnival 2017 launch could have lighted up the city.

Likewise, the energy of the crowds flocking to the panyards Tuesday last, which were the largest I have ever seen, could have lighted the whole island. I will return to these two events a little later.

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Unfortunately, to dim momentarily those bright lights, it is necessary to return to the subject of the utterances of the failed Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Stephen Williams.

At first I thought that not one stick, but two had broken in his ears.  Regrettably my diagnosis must be more severe.  There is at present some pathology—a word related to pathetic—that makes him unable to understand how intense is the failure of the police service.

He has denied that we are in a crisis and has engaged in a dispute about whether the fifty odd murders in the recently concluded month of January made it the “bloodiest” month.

Bloody, bloodier or one of the bloodiest, what difference does a minuscule alleged difference in the numbers make to the fact of the almost complete impunity with which murders are committed?

The new spin is that the public is “scapegoating” the police but whatever the broader societal responsibility for the violence breeding conditions in the society, the murderers must be caught, apprehended and brought to trial. That is the job of the police and they are simply not performing it.

Photo: Senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service during an address by then National Security Minister John Sandy in 2010. (Courtesy News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service during an address by then National Security Minister John Sandy in 2010.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

Most of us commentators have long ago acknowledged that the deplorable socio-economic conditions in which some youngsters grow up require urgent attention but many of the artistes performing in the two cultural events mentioned in my opening paragraph have come out of less than stable circumstances. That is why not properly appreciating their accomplishments retards progressive social development thinking.

Another aspect of the excuses is to refer to the administration of justice, but those failures have already been acknowledged. As expressly stated in this column, the administration of criminal justice is totally discredited. However, it is not open to the police high command to suggest that their failure to find the murderers is mitigated by the length of time and procedural twists that trials take.

The bottom line is that Williams really doh business with the fearful public.

Concurrently, unenlightened politicians are banging the rallying drum for the death penalty. This is misleading because the procedural limitations on the implementation of the death penalty imposed by judicial decisions are several. In July 2010, I first exposed the fallacy of the hanging talk.

Why continue to fool the people into thinking a quick fix death penalty solution is available when it is not—without a constitutional amendment to remove the judicially declared limitations?

Photo: The hangman's noose. (Copyright AYV News)
Photo: The hangman’s noose.
(Copyright AYV News)

The one impediment to detection in murder cases that is real and remediable is the failure to maintain and upgrade forensic science support for police investigations.  Right on cue last week, autopsies could not be performed because the pathologist was sick. The unsavoury scenes outside were indicative of the continuing slide further into barbarism.

Returning now to the 3Canal launch. There were many ingredients in the rapso and the accompanying dances that are worthy of export to theatres abroad.

I am a seasoned theatregoer in metropolitan locations. In those cities, performances like the 3Canal launch, with minor adjustments and marketing support, would be welcomed.

It was ironic that I was looking with amazement at 3Canal at the end of same the day on which Parliament was debating diversification of the economy. Our arts and cultural sector is ready to contribute to such diversification.

En passant to those impressed with the pink hat march in Washington DC, you should note that our rapso artists have protest lyrics much more compelling than the obscenities shouted by Madonna in Washington DC.

Photo: Rapso group, 3Canal. (Copyright fetedelamusiquetnt)
Photo: Rapso group, 3Canal.
(Copyright fetedelamusiquetnt)

The evidence of last Tuesday reveals that there will be another keen Panorama competition this year. Sad therefore that the final night audiences are declining because we are not permitted to hear prime bands at prime time since Pan Trinbago is persisting with the categorisation of steel orchestras into small, medium and large.

This categorisation has resulted in Panorama running for irrationally long hours and those long hours are killing off audiences at the Panorama finals.

When the Panorama judges visited those in the large bands category in the Northern region, each of the panyards could have been filled two times over with those who could not get inside.

By 11pm, there were 6,000 plus persons still circulating around the Port of Spain yards, having walked and parked in areas where they would not normally even drive past at night.

I was pleased to feel this positive vibe after seeing ghostly streets up to a week before. As my Little Carib compere put it: Is like people were waiting to exhale.

Photo: Simple Song Steel Orchestra pannist, Makeda, dances during their rendition of "Rebecca." (Courtesy Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)
Photo: Simple Song Steel Orchestra pannist, Makeda, dances during their rendition of “Rebecca.”
(Courtesy Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

AboutMartin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation, a board member of The Little Carib Theatre and Folkhouse and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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63 comments

  1. National Law enforcement agencies should research the findings of The President’s Barack Obamas’ Task Force on 21st Century Policing which held a public listening session on at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Task Force members heard testimony from five panels of witnesses on ways to improve the collaborative relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve, exchange best practices for policing strategies, promote effective crime reduction and address concerns about violence directed at law enforcement and the public.

  2. When the police do catch them they are released on bail. So what is he talking about?

  3. Seeing that Daly knows everything, perhaps we should appoint him Commissioner of Police!

  4. This whole judiciary system is a joke. I eh think dey really serious about crime

  5. Crime is a business in T & T – where would the security services be without it?

  6. He needs to be fired ASÀP fuck he dont care

  7. If we stop putting this idiot on Facebook he would go away

  8. ROGUE COPS AND THE PROLIFERATION OF ILLEGAL FUNS..
    GET RID OF THEM AND BACK TO PARADISE IN T&T…

  9. Yeah right mr. Daly,what a load of crap,,,,without legislation for DNA retrieval from suspects and a proper working forensic sciences center to process all samples in real time , the police are unable to reach the solving rate that is desirable,,police can’t pass laws and they are solving crime with out dated processes. That’s why suspects who have in fact committed crimes will have to be released from police custody and / or matter dismissed due to policing from Jurassic time.It’s people like you and others that are contributing negative emotions to rile the population and play the blame game.The government will soon pass law to charge motorist for breaking traffic lights and also change the ticket system,,,,,that is a move in the right direction..now pass laws to deal specifically with DNA data base and spend money for the best scientific equipment for the forensic sciences center,,,, then you would see what the Commissioner would do.

  10. In Trinidad the police jobs is only to give traffic tickets , take bribe , run blocks , they can’t even solve any case. Just now the civilians and criminals will start to kill all them police and politicians

    • it’s time for evert town and village to form vigilante gang the clear the the Police is incompetent when it comes to crime and the PM head in the sand waiting for carnival to whine on young girl, The citizens have to protect themselves now.

  11. No police can’t stop crime, its up to the individual themselves, Williams and all those ministers just have a job, does the police be in anyone mind, life is a balance of positive and negative its what the individual chose

  12. Williams jus drawing a salary under false pretenses!!! Until it reaches home sad to say, his arse wud jus skate

  13. He said nothing about WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS.

  14. Can’t argue with you there Marc Faces. We definitely need to revisit some of this stuff and make adjustments to suit the bigger picture.

  15. Not locking up petty drug users would have direct impact on combating crime. It would save billions to be used in more effective areas of spending. Not me alone think so, on the opening of the new law term in 2013 the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago describes our hardline policy towards petty drug users as “ridiculousness .”

  16. $75,000 could run a small youth club for at risk youth for a year.

  17. A man get hold for $25 in weed. He spends 3 months on remand. That’s $75,000, to enforce the law on $25 worth of weed.

  18. T&T biggest spender…If a piper has 5 convictions and he spends on average 9 months on remand for each conviction that is 45 months on remand for that piper over a decade or two of drug use. The AG said its $25,000 per prisoner a month on remand. So each piper is $25,000 × 45 = $1,125000. …Everytime I see a piper, I say hmmm..a million spent and he still so.

  19. dumb article by dumb people smh

  20. I am not prepared to scapegoat the police or the commissioner. The police can indeed do a better job at detection and solving. By definition when they have to detect or solve the murder has already been committed! The police by themselves cannot lower the “rate at which murders occur” because I don’t care how good they are, they can’t predict where or when the next wacko will strike. They cannot be everywhere at every time. It’s stupid to say that by simple patrolling they will stop murders – they already patrol a lot and they are seen but when my friend Jason was killed I couldn’t expect that the police would have been sitting in a car outside his relative’s house where he died. The bigger societal and judicial systems need to change . Fire him and put another one and the rate will change – asinine argument

    • Punishment would deter potential future lawbreakers in my opinion.

    • Lasana Liburd yes I agree. Tell the judiciary to get moving. Remember the first major headless murder of my former QRC alum? They caught the guys within a few days – tons of evidence collected. They guys are still in jail awaiting trial 7 years later. Why the deliberation with the trial. Is someone afraid of the links that will be revealed during trial. Yes my friend I agree, so let’s punish them

    • So here we are again…… more murders. Let’s continue to scapegoat the police and fire the commissioner. While we doing that let’s ignore the causes. Let’s ignore the ill that exists in many of our men that makes them feel women are theirs to mistreat and kill. Let’s ignore Mr Big. Let’s ignore the spinelessness of our judiciary to have quick trials and put these vermin away. And let’s wine and jam in the population divided along race and political lines. And let’s praise God the Trini. We on crap!

    • Well, I think the point here is everyone has a job to do. The police alone can’t solve it. But that’s not an excuse for them not to do their jobs.
      I agree with you that we won’t get anywhere without changing more than the police. But they’re still drawing a salaries that they ought to justify.

    • Lasana Liburd well I do think they are doing their jobs. There are some bad elements – maybe 25% but in general they want better too because they live in the same society and their families at risk too. The foolish scape goating is useless. No one want to call out the big fish . It’s carnival so let’s jam

    • It’s actually the police’s job to identify the big fish isn’t it?
      That’s why we give them investigative powers.

    • Lasana Liburd yes but often they are blocked! And we have evidence of that. Also, when the big fish are financiers the police will never get to them – anywhere in the world. Remember the police had orders to arrest Calder hart and a politician tipped him off to leave the country – he didn’t even pack his house. And he’s never been back . The protection of bad guys on high ….. why haven’t they tried the Koury case? Cocoa in sun right ? The police did their job in both those cases. The drugs on Monos Island the police did their job but then what happened . The fish rots from the head so deal with it from in high and then cascade it down is my view

    • True in many cases. But not whole the truth I’m sure. There are surely many cases that the police ought to have done much better on. And that doesn’t stop us from giving them a failing grade.
      It isn’t like we can say the police are doing a great job EXCEPT for the big fish. But I do get your point as well.

    • Lasana Liburd we are not in disagreement. They need to do much better but even then they can’t get to the root. How come no one has been charged for corruption from the period 2010-2015?

    • And the last person I know to be actually convicted as Patrick Jagessar. That might be two decades ago or more by now.
      T&T is too tolerant of corruption as a society. We are afraid of a society where “having a frien” isn’t enough.

    • Lasana Liburd and we in the season of free fete tickets. Being flippant but you know what I mean. Many of the favors that draw protection are small

  21. You just need a few hot shot detectives not swayed by family friends race political parties and must be literate. Train them.

  22. Police cannot solve murders. ..just speeding and dui

  23. The detection rate is very poor in Trinidad and Tobago because most of the murders are considered gang related ….most of the victims and perpetrators are well known to the police …..it’s basically “let them kill themselves” type of policy being used

  24. There is a no bail policy for murder in trinidad

  25. Y is he still acting, steups get him out!

  26. If only it was that easy eh it would have been done

    • So what are you lacking as a member of law enforcement that can make your job easier? And provide confidence to the public that the police svc is working? Sir please don’t take offense i am just engaging in dialogue. I have family that were officer as well i could not get the answers from them either. I was told I watched to much First 48 and the CI station

    • Ay no I’m not taking any offence at all. I am very thick skinned. I am not attached to the Homicide Bureau but I am aware of there issues. In this day and age we still depend on “I see” evidence to prosecute murderers. We need laws to assist for example technology and DNA wise to increase the detection rate. Those guys in Homicide work very very hard trust me but they are very demoralized due to current constraints.

    • But the CoP controlls the budget, does he need laws to invest in technology? Net worked cctv,facial recog. software,l think the DNA law was passed…..

    • You have to put the laws in place or the work would not be admissible in court.

  27. There are some simple things that can be done to avert crime or at least put some doubt into criminal minds. Strategically locate police vehicle shells complete with flashing lights along the highways and intersperse their location with manned police vehicles. Also place empty police vehicles in high traveled areas and from time to time man these vehicles with policemen for a half hour or so. Finally it is time to conduct a sting operation on the Beetham Highway to once and for all get rid of the pests who prey on motorists who breakdown on the highway.

    • Earl Best

      Brian, As a proportion of the crime in the country as a whole, how would you rate the crimes committed by the “pests who prey on motorists who breakdown (sic) on the highway”? I’m not defending the”pests” but I’d prefer the police to make the big sawatees who receive US$2m in a container full of plywood or who ship out a million dollars worth of drugs in orange juice cans.

      My instincts tell me that if we get rid of the second group, the group of “pests” to which you refer is likely to disappear.

  28. There is no quick fix but the Ag CoP should start by having the police patrol the streets and neighborhoods and not have some of them sitting down in their air conditioned patrol cars. Is there also a reason why some police compounds are swamped with wrecked vehicles?

  29. People always forget that crime social. Having a police officer on every corner not gonna stop people from breaking the law if they want to break it. What can an officer do to stop someone who plan to kill someone else?

    • Earl Best

      Keston,
      The obvious answer is arrest and charge him. As a society, we can’t ask for more and that is what Martin is, I think, signalling here.

      And murder, BTW, is the crime that causes the greatest concern but it is not the only crime that the police are charged with preventing.

  30. He jamming still…..better yet he jamming long time #waft

  31. Does anyone think that Commissioner Williams has a clue on how to handle the crime situation?

  32. Why continue to fool the people into thinking a quick fix death penalty solution is available when it is not— …..to evoke a uninformed, emotional response. “Playing smart wide chupidness”

  33. Just saying too .. if the police brings the murderers to court .. bail would be granted? The judiciary also has a major role