Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear editor: I don’t for one second believe they listened to ‘WE’! Give us truth on security contracts

Dear editor: I don’t for one second believe they listened to ‘WE’! Give us truth on security contracts

“This is the same government who, when in opposition, criticised the then UNC-led People’s Partnership Government in 2014 for introducing a similar initiative called Community Comfort Patrol—saying that untrained, unknown people were driving through neighbourhoods in strange vehicles pretending to be police.

“[…] The initiative has now been cancelled but there are still many questions to be answered as it relates to what led the National Security Council to consider, implement and quickly award contracts for an initiative that was heavily criticised by this administration…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the government’s decision to award and then rescind contracts to four security firms to patrol neighbourhoods during the Covid-19 crisis, was submitted to Wired868 by Bryan St Louis:

Photo: National Security Minister Stuart Young (left) and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith wave to the crowd during the 2020 Carnival.
(Copyright TTPS)

So, a decision was made by our National Security Council to contract the services of four private security firms to join with the Police Service to patrol the streets of some parts of Trinidad and not Tobago.

When that decision was made is up for debate because the activity had a start date of 6 April 2020 and was announced publicly via a press release from the Ministry of National Security on 7 April 2020.

What is strange about this press release is that the Minister of National Security was at an earlier press conference and made no mention of the initiative. But belatedly, at a subsequent press conference a couple of days later, he indicated that he did not want to distract from the Ministry of Health’s update by revealing the information.

Surprisingly the National Security Minister, at this same press conference a couple of days later, announced the cancellation of the initiative, indicating that the decision to cancel was in response to the overwhelming position adopted by citizens, that there was no need for an additional layer of protection.

I really don’t want to give credit to Covid-19 for causing politicians who don’t ask or consult with us on major decisions to suddenly listen to ‘We’!

This is the same government who, when in opposition, criticised the then UNC-led People’s Partnership Government in 2014 for introducing a similar initiative called Community Comfort Patrol—saying that untrained, unknown people were driving through neighbourhoods in strange vehicles pretending to be police.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (centre) has a word with National Security Minister Stuart Young in Parliament.

Upon taking up the reins of government, the PNM administration abandoned those patrols in 2017. Additionally, the now Minister of Health is quoted as stating in a parliamentary debate in 2018 that the only beneficiary of the patrol was the company which was awarded the contract.

Strangely, the now Commissioner of Police was the Minister of National Security when the patrols were introduced under the UNC-led People’s Partnership Government.

The initiative has now been cancelled but there are still many questions to be answered as it relates to what led the National Security Council to consider, implement and quickly award contracts for an initiative that was heavily criticised by this administration.

We need answers as to why the body that is responsible for our National Security backpedalled? Was it, as is done in boxing, to move backward quickly to avoid blows?

I don’t for one second believe that they listened to ‘WE’!!!

Editor’s Note: The security firms awarded government contracts were Allied Security Limited, Amalgamated Security Services Limited, Innovative Security Technologies Limited and Protective Agencies Limited.

All contracts were subsequently were subsequently cancelled with, according to National Security Minister Stuart Young, no penalty to the state.

About Bryan St Louis

Bryan St Louis is a former education officer for the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU).

Check Also

Noble: ‘Disruption or disturbance?’ T&T appears trapped inside perfect storm

What a horrendous week! On Friday 18th, Dr Terrence Farrell, discussing the future of our …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.