N Touch
Friday 13 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Is the witness protection programme in TT safe?

THE EDITOR: Yet another state witness has been gunned down, which may be a sign that vast improvements need to be made to the witness protection programme.

Trust needs to be restored so that people would feel safe and be encouraged to seek the protection of the programme and bring more criminals to justice.

Is the programme safe or is this killing another case of a witness being careless and not agreeing to participate in it or to follow protocol?

I am sure further investigations will be made as to how criminals were able to murder another witness and what exactly went wrong.

Sadly, most citizens will forget about this incident and will go about their everyday lives as normal because too many of us have become desensitised to murder. And the State must take responsibility for this because of its failure to protect us from violence and also to get justice.

This murder also highlights how dangerous TT has become to live in. How did we get to the horrible state?

A newspaper reported the latest state witness killing this way:

“A Claxton Bay man was killed days after three men were committed to stand trial for attempting to murder him three years ago.

“The body of labourer Kevin Bhukal was discovered with a gunshot wound through the left eye on Sunday afternoon.

“Gran Couva police found Bhukal, 47, slumped over the steering wheel in his car parked near an entrance to the Forres Park landfill at Cedar Hill Road, Claxton Bay, around 4 pm.

“Police said on November 15 in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court three men were committed to stand trial for his attempted murder which occurred on January 5, 2016.

“Bhukal was the main state witness in the case.”

In recent years, organised crime has grown at an alarming rate. Gangs and gang warfare are now common.

Criminal organisations are becoming much stronger and more diverse due to poor law enforcement and the open borders facilitating the easy flow of illegal weapons into the country.

These 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 trust the criminal justice system. Without trust, criminals 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 they will receive all the support they need and the protection they deserve from the criminal groups seeking to discourage them from co-operating with the authorities.

It is time to vastly improve security measures in the country and the witness protection programme in order to restore trust in law and order so that more criminals can be brought to justice.

SIMON WRIGHT

Chaguanas

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