WHY cannot approximately 8,000 police officers track down 50 "elite" gunmen?Attorney Subhas Panday, asking this question yesterday, expressed fear that there might be an attempt to create a State of Emergency (SoE) through the back door.
A former minister in the Ministry of National Security, Panday called on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to find the "shooters" wherever they are, “because they number only 50.” A police media release on Monday quoted Griffith as saying 50 elite shooters are linked to gang warfare which accounts for many of the recent murders. This was based on police intelligence, the media statement said, which justifies the need for passage of the current Bail Amendment Bill legislation to detain people on firearms charges for 120 days after their arrest.The bill, because it affects citizens’ liberty, requires a three-fifths majority. The Opposition has not supported it.Panday said, “They’re saying we have 50 shooters. Why over 8,000-9,000 policemen and women cannot find them? Why we don’t know what part of the country they come from? You mean we know there are 50 shooters, but 8,000 policemen don’t know who they are? Is that what we telling the citizens of the country?”
Saying there is no need to incarcerate a person for 120 days without bail, Panday said the amendment will work fairly only after someone is arrested and taken to the court, where a magistrate determines the issues. But Panday said TT did not need an amendment because already, the police can arrest a suspect, keep him for 72 hours, release him and then arrest him again.
“It is the old method of policing. You have them on the run, because you can lock them up again and again."Panday is not optimistic about the amendment.
“If this legislation is passed, a number of people could be arrested and kept in jail for 120 days. It is an attempt to create a State of Emergency through the back door. All I’m saying is, use the old method of policing: arrest, release and arrest again. That way you have them on the run.”
Agreeing there must be a frontal attack on gun violence, Panday warned that politicians must not become emotional about the murder rate and seek an escape route.