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Thursday 23 May 2019
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Crime-busters Ian, Gary

Crime-busters. This essentially means fighting crime in unusual ways. On evenings at 6 pm on Synergy TV, you will hear, “Yes, you on Crime Watch, talk to me.” That’s television vigilante Ian Alleyne, raking and scraping details from the caller about what “really happened,” when the crime occurred and where. This “information” gets passed on to the police. Soon after, you will see Mr Alleyne, with white large-framed spectacles, leading a group of heavily armed officers to the scene, night or day, knocking on doors or chasing a very surprised suspect. You wonder who is who.

Then working class types, from housewives to shop-keepers, will call: “Mr Alleyne, yuh doing a great job, keep it up, God bless you.” He would often request a donation to his First Citizens bank account. He also works as a victim and consumer advocate. A kind of people’s court. Middle-aged, poor women come to him complaining about people who “robbed them.” “We going after dem, ah not afraid,” he would say with image-ripe bravado. He attracts controversy sometimes, some even calling him “a joker.” No big fish yet.

CoP Griffith, too, not afraid to tell lawyers where to get off. “Let them do their job and leave me to do mine,” he declared. He complains how “granting bail to criminals” easily hinders his crime-fighting. Gary has widespread public support – his greatest asset now. Policing against crime is a work in progress as he will soon realise. Especially with gangs. Gary’s on-the-crime scene appearances, well armed with battle uniform and boldly moving into gangland attracts public confidence and boosts police morale. This therapy, however, should be strengthened by increased crime detection rates and improved police response to citizens’ reports. For his efforts so far, Gary deserves public support.

His declaration of “duties without political preferences” and in constitutionally proper manner brings integrity to his reputation. Late former commissioner Randolph Burroughs also had early public support, but became drawn too far into the political circle, eventually feeling the sting of the scorpion’s tail.

Alleyne’s reality TV show is unprecedented in form, content and citizen interaction. After WIN TV's 2016 closure, then shown the door by CCN TV6 and CNC, Alleyne, with a remarkable display of persistence and financial bargaining, jumped into nascent Synergy, quickly becoming advertisers’ hunting ground. Alleyne’s show carries a preamble with Synergy disclaiming any liability for what he says or does.

So far, callers seem to trust him, a critical element in crime-fighting. They also believe he can “do something” for them. So he picks up the phone, telling his audience he is calling Mr so-and-so. He declares “Look, ladies and gentlemen, I can call the commissioner of police anytime, yuh know.” He adds: “Mr Gary Griffith, yes, Gary and I go down good. Gary is a no nonsense man.” And of course, Mr Griffith seems to know what is a good thing – for now. The apparent exchange of crime information has helped shaped both into a kind of Batman and Robin crime-fighting duo – an example of putting community policing on wheels.

Alleyne’s quickened possession of “live action” videos from security cameras injects frightening reality in his show. It is usually about thieves in a store beating up the cashier and owner, or about a thief illegally packing his bag in a grocery, a man visibly shooting another, young men stealing a car, etc. Live and direct real crime tv. He repeatedly walks left and right before his cameras, boasting about his up-to-date video discoveries. “News before the news,” he claims as his show approaches 7 pm.

Last Tuesday evening, he told a caller to hold on while he is seeking help. “I am calling the commissioner of prisons,” he announced. Commissioner Gerard Wilson replied, promising to help the caller. Such telephonic powers make Alleyne look like a “big pappy.”

That self-awareness helped made him a UNC candidate for St Joseph in 2013 and would have likely won (5,577 vs Deyalsingh 6,356 votes) if ILP candidate Om Lalla did not enter the race with 1,976 votes. (Errol Fabien 300). But as Jack Warner says, yesterday was yesterday. Alleyne maintains loyalty to Kamla Persad-Bissessar. With bluster and advertising, he seems to manage the tightrope well. Would he be a candidate in 2020?

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