Restore confidence in witness protection

THE EDITOR: National Security Minister Stuart Young said the murder of state witness Candy McIntyre on Tuesday was a tragedy but added that she was not in the witness protection programme. This is an insensitive excuse. Another state witness has been gunned down further highlighting the need for vast improvements in the witness protection programme, but most Trinbagonians will forget about this incident by tomorrow and life will go on because too many of us have become desensitised to violence. It also highlights how dangerous TT has become to live. How did we get into the horrible state that we are in?

According to preliminary reports, at about 2.45 pm, the woman was walking along Santa Barbara Boulevard, Santa Cruz, when a white wagon pulled up alongside her and gunmen with rifles opened fire. She was killed at the scene.

In recent years in TT, organised crime has grown at an alarming rate. Gangs and gang warfare is common place as their power is increasing. Criminal organisations in this country are becoming much stronger and so much more diverse due to poor law enforcement and open borders facilitating the easy flow of illegal weapons into the country. Criminal groups are engaging in systematic forms of co-operation designed solely to further strengthen their stronghold in communities. In the investigation and prosecution of crime, particularly the more serious crimes, it is important for witnesses to have trust in criminal justice systems. Without trust, criminals in this country will continue to get away with murder.

Witnesses need to have complete confidence to come forward and join the witness protection programme to assist law enforcement in the successful execution of their duties. State witnesses need to be assured that they will receive all the support they need and the protection that they deserve from intimidation and the harm that criminal groups seek to inflict upon them in attempts to punish and discourage them from co-operating with the authorities. It is time to vastly improve the witness protection programmes in TT in order to restore trust in the criminal justice system so that more criminals can be brought to justice in TT.



"Restore confidence in witness protection"

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