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Daly Bread: When ridiculous becomes normal; CoP’s ‘nonsensical’ statements on arrest

In the face of rampant violent crime, last week’s column asserted that it is wholly insufficient to believe, as the Government does, that we could merely rely on the Police Service as currently managed.

On that same day, there was a forceful editorial in the Sunday Express newspaper which I had barely finished digesting, when my attention was drawn to the remarks made by the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr Stephen Williams—in another newspaper—reportedly at an event relating to Police Youth Clubs.

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams responds to a question from the audience during a National Security forum with the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GTCIC) on 23 October 2013.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

Williams had apparently repeated his mantra that the main cause of crime was the failure of parenting and family life. Such failure is a cause, but one can dispute whether that failure is the main cause given our current slack policing environment and the absence of a coherent social development policy.

As if to sanctify police slackness, Williams then declared that “we cannot arrest ourselves out of rising crime. The more you arrest the more criminals come forward to be arrested.”

This is an entirely foolish statement. The rest of Williams’ remarks—set out below—implicitly acknowledge the prolonged and notoriously low detection rate of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. It follows therefore the police will not in fact arrest significant numbers of persons out of crime as his grand charge suggests.

It is simply nonsense to propose comparing the known numbers of crime with the completely unknown, undiscoverable and unverifiable numbers of crime, which the police are claiming to have prevented. It is embarrassing to have to point this out.

I am still pinching myself at the rest of the remarks. Williams is quoted as follows: “Everybody speaks about the Police Services’ detection rate so the more offences we detect means we are performing better—for me that does not make much sense.”

Photo: Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams presents a letter of appointment to Inspector Margaret Sampson-Browne on 31 August 2010.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

Could even someone as hapless as Williams have seriously asserted that police success was better gauged by how much crime the police claim to prevent rather than by reference to the current pitiful detection rate?

This statement is a significant repudiation of the duty for the performance of which we pay the police. Perhaps the coveted rank of Detective will be abolished.

It is fundamental to the maintenance of a civilised society that the police service should regard catching wrongdoers as the highest of priorities. It is also a plainly offensive statement.

It must be devastating news to the victims of violent crime that the justice to which they all appeal in their moments of grief is not a priority and that pursuit of a high detection rate “does not make much sense.”

Regarding Williams’ utterances I may now exceed the constraining lines of the Carmona/Stollmeyer doctrine regarding “acceptable” criticism when I say that Williams is a real clown, being one for whom the ridiculous becomes normal.

Photo: Former bank employee Shannon Banfield was murdered in 2016. Her killer remains at large.
(Courtesy Justice for Shannon Banfield)

The doctrines on the limits of acceptable criticism are those of President of the Republic, President Anthony Carmona, and retired Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer. They were recently patched together in a press release issued by the office of the President.

The ostensible purpose of the release was to inform the public why retired Justice Stollmeyer had resigned from the Judicial and Legal Service Commission. But it gave the President, who has not responded well to criticism, a manufactured opportunity to tout his desire to restrain or control criticism.

Remember his threat to sue comedienne Rachael Price?

However Williams’ logic could safely be described as “rum shop logic” because that ungracious phrase—along with another, “donkey cart interpretation”—which could be applied to the acting CoP’s understanding of police work, have received official licence.

The core of last Sunday’s forceful editorial, mentioned earlier, was this: Public officials seeking to confine criticism to forms of expression that they adjudge permissible have missed:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona is snapped before a meeting with China President Xi Jingping in Port of Spain on 2 June 2013.
(Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2016/Wired868)

“The very real value of much of the public input in major issues of the day. More than any institution, it is public opinion that has been rising to the country’s defence in the midst of collapsing institutions and in the absence of political leadership.

“One simply has to imagine how much worse off Trinidad and Tobago would be if public opinion and civil society did not step up to the responsibility of holding public offices and office-holders to account.”

For over a decade this column has tried to hold various officeholders to account for the rise of violent crime. When I refer to the deficiency of police as currently managed, I have in mind more than failed individual managers like Stephen Williams.

The failings of the Service Commissions have also made the ridiculous become normal—for example, disciplinary proceedings that lead to nowhere other than to suspension with full pay, which provide the free time to take another job or qualify for another career.

Urgent policy interventions are required in order to restore balanced and effective governance and objective justice. Without these we will continue to ridicule ourselves.

Photo: Another lifeless body heads to the morgue in Trinidad.

About Martin 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 and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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  1. Roger Mr daly was not vocal about ramdeen anand and all the others but he has so much to say now they know how to support and protect their own very well

  2. If you cannot solve crime then you are part of the problem

  3. While I agree to some extent with Daly, the SC needs to start taking a hard look at the mirror and be just as critical of his circle within the sphere of his profession.
    Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my solution to a lot of ills – self-examination of our own BEFORE sending criticism out there.
    Mr. Daly is the counsel for RBC against working people who were retrenchment and put on the bread line after years of service and is being well paid to do so.
    If my memory served me well, he is the counsel for TSTT against the working men and women and being well paid to do that also.
    He is silent about how the members of his fraternity contribute to the backlog in the courts, how they defend persons for a fee while hiding behind lawyer/client privilege and being well paid to do so.
    He sat and voted and attend cocktail parties in the company of attorneys under investigation for corrupt practices and there is no column ranting against them .
    Yet, he finds it easy to target persons outside of his sphere because he is comfortable doing it and we, because he is an SC, swallow his crap every week.
    Until these “good cititzens” begin to put their money where their mouth is, they have NO moral authority pontificating on ANY other professional.
    Once we use this guide for ALL of our professionals, we will see how quiet the landscape becomes.
    Take the mote out of your own eyes…… You all know the rest

    • I totally agree with your comment and yes he is the attorney for RBC and TSTT. He is also close associate of his former employee Justice Kokoram who you will never hear him criticize but he is so good at criticism of Afro Trinbago professionals. How come there is no negative comments from him about Ramlogan or Ramdeen or even Kamla and her false SC.

      Daly is a hypocrite who feels because he hangs out a pan yard makes him a lover of black ppl. I wonder how many of them he has ever invited into his home.

    • Martin Daly: “[…] As a result of Kamla’s incredibly poor assessments of suitability for public office the political wastebasket was already overflowing before the election with persons dumped during the course of her Government. Such a wastebasket may still be needed.”

    • Martin Daly: “the general public has been turned off by legal mouthpieces for one major political party or another being paid excessive fees out of taxpayers’ pockets.

      “[…] The Law Association and its predecessor, the Bar Association, have a long history of coming to the forefront when partisan politics or public administration go dangerously out of line.

      “Sadly, there have been times when the Law Association has gone through periods of low vigilance on behalf of the public.”

    • Lasana, this article has done little to counter my point about the SC. I am waiting for him to be as vocal and forceful about his own peers as he was about the resignation of the JLSC & the CJ.
      I don’t see him demanding the resignation from the bar of those among him who are under charges. Neither has he asked openly for the Law Association to investigate and adjudicate on the exorbitant fees charged by his peers for trivial cases.

    • Okay. I won’t debate that matter of scale. But I’m just pointing out that he has criticised the persons you referred to.

    • Actually, I read the article. He didn’t criticize any of the persons to whom I hinted.
      Mind you, he is no different from any of our local professionals, except for labour and engineering. Unfortunately those fields are said to lack unity. If so, we need more disunity in the medical, financial, business, media and legal professions.
      Except for political gain, members of these fraternities seldom seek the resignations of their own on grounds of principle

  4. Years ago we got help from Scotland Yard to help solve crime, perhaps we need them now.

  5. If you send a jackass off to university, don’t expect an educated jackass to return, just prepare to tolerate a jackass with a degree!

  6. we need foreigners from Scotland yard….locals ain’t able

  7. I find it very difficult to take seriously a man who can stand up at Oxford University and say, “Homee-cides”.

    As for the other person, “Ultracrepidarian” is the only word to describe him. Secret powers or not.

  8. Protect and serve whom? Every day when the escorts push you at the side of the road so the “higher ups”could pass traffic free. That’s when you know who they serve. “Yuh have cocoa in the sun, look out for rain”

  9. The Acting Commissioner might be part of the problem. Or he is being controlled by the Criminals . Now his wife is part of the Justice System . Crime will continue to Rise . Birds of a feather flock together

  10. Earlier this Year That Jackass said that If he can’t get some Control on Crime in he would demit Office, Well he Didn’t and instead of Sticking to his Pronouncement . He is now Spewing Rants and Utter Rubbish. Waste ah Time Hollywood COP.

  11. This man cannot detect he own shadow in midday blazing sun

  12. This bullshit about blaming fatherless families for crime is pure f..kery.

  13. I am waiting eagerly for his exit from the police service. Such a lame commissioner of police!

  14. The man have no idea how to control crime. National Security get the largest chunk of the annual budget yet crime gets worse.



  17. But Kathy girl yuh have to give Dem credit for how dey spending dey annual crime fighting budget on dey dance dan dan. At least dey lookin good dress up.

  18. This man belittles the integrity of Trinidadian

  19. As a commissioner of police ,ah wonder what’s the % he will give himself for his job approval and performance.

  20. And more so does the tolerance of the nation.

  21. It surprises me that you all have only now realized the quantum of ass spoken by “Sphincter” Williams on a daily level

  22. This man ideas are beyond incredible.

  23. Marcia Tinto He seemingly has one. What else could justify his continued tenure?

  24. Williams needs a permanent red card.

  25. Boy oh boy the nation continues to get the level of service it deserves, huh?

  26. here i am thinking a man was charged for Shannon Banfield murder ..what did i miss ?is it the will that she be a symbol of unsolved crime so you say no one has been charged ?

  27. Acting CoP could do well if he looked up Peter Drucker, read some of his books and followed Drucker’s recommendations.

    Ten quotes from Drucker that can be applied directly to him and his management of the TTPS are:
    1. “Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.”
    2. “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
    3. “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
    4. “What gets measured gets improved.”
    5. “Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”
    6. “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”
    7. “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
    8. “Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organization. For one either meets or one works. One cannot do both at the same time.”
    9. “Long-range planning does not deal with the future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.”
    10. “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things”

    Our Acting CoP is a smartman, not a smart man. He knows a bit about #4 but like he doesn’t understand what it means. So he is playing smart now and saying the key performance indicators (KPIs) in place to measure the TTPS’ performance don’t make sense. So he comes up with some metrics that can’t be measured which he can then put his own spin on.

    How will he measure or better yet report on crimes the TTPS prevented? Would he only count instances where persons were caught red handed?

  28. What shit he saying? Why he have that job?

  29. Provoking and irritating the public with his every utterance.