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Wednesday 20 November 2019
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Editorial

Hiding in plain sight

Photo courtesy Pixabay
Photo courtesy Pixabay

THE ARIMA Borough Day celebration has some die-hard supporters. According to police, around 9.20 am prison escapee Dillon Clarke resisted being in State custody but could not resist the lure of the Borough Day J’Ouvert. He was seen along Hollis Avenue on Saturday enjoying the festivities.

Clarke has given new meaning to the notion of hiding in plain sight. Maybe he felt the idea of a high-profile escapee participating openly in such an event was so incredulous that officers on duty would be complacent.

They were not.

As a result, Clarke, who was scheduled for release in eight months’ time, now faces a $100,000 fine and imprisonment for a further five years. It could be said that the prisoner’s brazenness does not bode well for the police. At the same time, the officers who spotted Clarke should be praised for a high level of vigilance. That at least is one positive we can take away from the circumstances which have renewed questions about the security of our prisons.

Clarke’s escape was only the latest breach. On May 14 checks at the remand yard in Golden Grove Prison revealed that eight prisoners were missing from their cells. Five were recaptured the same day, and the rest were recaptured within weeks. But, according to Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Dane Clarke, prison officers who were present during the escape of the eight prisoners could find themselves facing disciplinary action. According to him, the investigation into that escape has been completed, and a file was sent to the disciplinary unit of the prison service. He said after further investigations were done and charges laid, if any, it would be determined whether the matter would be forwarded to the relevant agencies.

For the public to have any confidence in those processes, however, they must be done in a timely manner. And that has been a major stumbling block in the past. Can we expect a different outcome now? We demand it. The apprehension of the prisoner came as another wanted person, a suspect in a murder, was also held by police over the weekend. Police arrested the suspect who was reportedly speeding along the Solomon Hochoy Highway in Couva on Saturday morning. A report said that at about 8.30 am, Highway Patrol Unit officers saw the driver of a white car speeding dangerously on the northbound lane of the highway. A chase ensued and the officers intercepted the car near the Indian Trail overpass, Couva.

When things go wrong, the public is rightly incensed. So the officers involved should be commended for their quick action. Members of the public who may have given the police tips should also be praised. This was an instance of effective law enforcement.

Let’s have more of that.

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