Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: What’s TTPS’ plan, Mr CoP, for pulling back runaway murder and crime?

Dear Editor: What’s TTPS’ plan, Mr CoP, for pulling back runaway murder and crime?

“If the current average rate of about two per day is sustained, by the end of the year, we can expect there will be some 700 homicides (aka murders). (But) that sort of figure is plainly ridiculous, outrageous for a country with only some 1.3 million people.”

The following Letter to the Editor, asking pertinent questions of five high-profile personalities in the country, including the Commissioner of Police, was submitted to Wired868, by Mohan Ramcharan of Birmingham, England.

Photo: Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams (left) talks to the media while National Security Minister Edmund Dillon looks on.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

This is an open letter containing some questions addressed to the following persons:

  • The Commissioner of Police
  • The Minister of National Security
  • The Prime Minister
  • The Leader of the Opposition
  • The President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

I read today in the Trinidad Express of 6 February that the murder toll has reached 67. This means that, if the current average rate of about two per day is sustained, by the end of the year, we can expect there will be some 700 homicides (aka murders). Anything approaching that sort of figure is plainly ridiculous, outrageous for a country with only some 1.3 million people.

The efficacy of the Police Service in carrying out an investigation to the point of achieving a successful prosecution by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and thus deterring homicides has been called into question for the past decade or so.

With no clear signs of abatement regarding the current status quo, I ask the following questions, which require very straightforward and full answers:

  1. What percentage of all the homicides in the last five years has been successfully prosecuted?
  2. Does the Police Service have sufficient manpower and resources to effectively investigate all cases on record and those to come?
  3. In its current configuration, is the Police Service effective in controlling or deterring serious crime? [A straight yes or no would do].
  4. If ‘yes’ to (2) and (3) above, using the average annual rate over the last five years as the base, what average annual percentage reduction in the homicide rate can the public expect to see over the next five years?
  5. Is the country being held to ransom by criminals?
Photo: Forensic scientists collect data at a crime scene.

A prompt (within 14 days of the date of this letter) answer is required.

About Mohan Ramcharan

Mohan Ramcharan is a law student and a student of human nature and culture, who prefers cool logic to emotional ranting. A Trinidadian living in England, he observes the world through two lenses—and strives to share both views in his writing.

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  1. If you ask the Police about manpower they will say hey are short. Yesterday’s news reported they were short by 1100. But unfortunately our reporters don’t seem to care to go deeper. No one asks, of the enlisted, how many are entitled to leave in excess of 2 months. Officers are accumulating leave then taking year long vacations. Or, how many police officers are doing HR work, secretarial work, processing vehicle perks, collecting numerical data and other duties that civilians can do?

    If you give the police 1100 more they would find a lot more non-policing duties for them to do.

  2. I agree fully with Christopher Jackson-smith. The local media, one of the stakeholder who make millions from the crimes, are very careful NOT to look behind the numbers.
    The truth is that a very high percentage of murders taking place occur when person(s) leave their homes to specifically kill other person (s). The actual number of innocent persons killed by stray bullets are actually quite low and we don’t have random killings like what occurs in the US, Europe and the Middle East.
    The local Police is hamstrung to stop these types of murders because we, through our Parliament, don’t want to pass the Bill authorizing the tapping of phones to get intelligence. Unless they get forewarned, it is virtually impossible to stop the shooters from getting to their targets, save catching them in a roadblock (which the public cuss about because it hampers us from going about OUR business ).
    There are also a number of domestic killings included on those figures but the local media refuses to dissect the numbers often enough expose the real story. You see, their millions are made from publishing bad news and dissecting the numbers doesn’t suit their purpose. It’s easier to put up large numbers and blame the politicians and Law enforcement while they sleep comfortably at night. The hypocrisy is sickening

  3. That the rise n fall of crime is linked to the political party in power in TNT, is a simplistic position to hold.

    A look at the murder stats would suggest that coming together as one strong group, with one strong voice, united against crime, could help to reduce the murder rate. U see, holding on to those political proclivities has been more of an obstacle than a boost to effective crime fighting – the politicians have been able to avoid accountability, by hiding behind the clay brick wall of Cultural Pluralism ( what we call tribal politics ).

    From 1998 to 2017, murders have increased 4 times, even with the state of emergency.

    During the last period the UNC was in power, there were, on average, 34 murders per mth, even with the state of emergency.

    The PNM came into power in late 2015. For 2016 & 2017, the monthly average murder rate was 40, 6 more than the last administration.
    N that is not surprising given the historical n continuous rise in murders. Without any significant intervention, murders, by the end of 2018, could rise on average, more than 50 per month.
    What is clear, to me, is this: From 1998 to present, every Gov’t crime initiative has failed to stem the murder rate – nothing has worked; whether gun talk or more police on the beat.

    The criminals have been beating the security forces to the tape, every time. N the security big boys look n act like school boys in short pants kicking tin pans in the streets. They have us now thinking that the Gang Bill, if it is made law, will be the Panacea needed. I hope for once they r correct.
    But this police swagger flies in the face of reality. A reality that the Bill doesn’t address: the high level of unemployed n under-employed youths, the high number of idle young people in the age range of say 17 to 25, the violence n corrupting influence of the drug trade n the constant poor leadership of the security arm of the country. So Brace yourself

  4. The truth is, I , subtract the innocent from those murdered and I find the figure is low. I also find we should pay the bandits and drug pushers and corrupt persons for doing the police job and saving TAX payers money, let them kill one another I say.

  5. You want the truth. The truth is the police service has been coasting for so long that they don’t know how to do their job anymore. We have to build a new police service from scratch.

  6. Unfortunately numbers don’t ever lie

  7. People should have alright to defend themselves.

    • People do have ‘a right’ (which is what I hope you meant to say) to defend themselves.

      Having a right, and the means to assert that right, however, are two different things.