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N Touch
Thursday 14 December 2017
Editorial

Recapturing credibility

Law enforcement authorities had little choice but to swiftly recapture Vicky Boodram. The entire system of law and order faced further humiliation if the accused fraudster had succeeded in crossing the border. Now that some degree of confidence has been restored, however, it is essential that a full inquiry be conducted into systems and personnel. The recapture must not be the end of this matter.

Not for the first time, the Police Service has demonstrated its capacity for effective action. Boodram’s rearrest is the second high-profile recapture in recent memory.

The other involved Trinidad’s most wanted, Azmon Alexander, who was detained in 2015 and is now facing the courts. Then, as now, officers have shown their ability to utilise the full breath of the tools and resources available to them. All must be congratulated on a job well done.

Moving forward, it is hoped a similar level of detection will apply to other outstanding matters currently awaiting resolution.

It remains to be seen how long murder-accused Hamilton Small, who made a run for it on the same day as Boodram, will escape police custody. Will the powers that be give officers all the resources they need to get the job done in that case as well?

When all is said and done, too many questions remain after this week’s Hollywood-style jailbreak action.

One police officer has reportedly admitted to assisting Boodram for amorous reasons. It has been determined that bogus court documents were patched together using basic tools like a scanner; one officer has admitted to being “set up” by Boodram’s accomplice; and huge gaps in the system of checks and balances at prison and court facilities have emerged. All of this calls for a complete overhaul.

Given the jailbreak of 2015, the escape of Boodram and Small, the series of murders of prison officers, the evidence of poor conditions behind bars, and repeated discoveries of contraband items in jail, there are now more than enough compelling reasons for the establishment of a commission of inquiry into TT’s penal system. Such a review should have powers to examine sensitive matters in-camera and to make recommendations for reform.

What was at stake in Boodram’s case was not just one set of criminal proceedings brought against her. Her escape put the law enforcement apparatus to the test. The belief that she desired to head to Cedros and then the South American mainland begs the question: are our borders really secure?

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