Shooting themselves in the foot

Such is the blind recklessness of criminals that they are now willing to act against their own self-interest, as made clear by the deadly kidnapping attempt involving two doctors whose colleagues would later be called upon to treat the very same kidnappers after the plan went awry. Not only do they have blood on their hands, but criminals are also shooting themselves in the foot.

Every human life is priceless, but the death of Dr Rudradeva Sharma, 38, who was killed in the incident, is a particular blow because of his own commitment to serving the nation as a doctor in one of our most over-subscribed hospitals. The two kidnappers were injured (one later died) and it was the same doctors of the San Fernando General Hospital who had to do what they could to save their lives. We today pay tribute to the professionalism of those medical officials who must have been traumatised beyond words.

In a similar vein, however, we really have to question the motivations of those behind yet another shooting incident in downtown Port of Spain. A similar recklessness accompanied that incident which left at least two people dead, mere days after another attack of this nature on Old Year’s Day.

All three events, as well as additional killings overnight - three young men were shot to death in Wallerfield, Tueday morning - are part of a dramatic escalation that has raised the stakes for law enforcement authorities. There will be the natural call for a state of emergency which will require careful examination of the causes of these crimes.

What is clear is the population at large is under threat. We are all targets, as stated by Sharma’s uncle, the former Parliamentarian Chandresh Sharma.

Though the country is being pushed to the limits by these events, it is important to maintain faith in the work of the police and law enforcement authorities. It is notable that in many of the recent events authorities have swiftly apprehended some of the assailants. That, at least, provides a glimmer of hope.

In relation to these arrests, the rule of law must be allowed to take its course. Just as doctors are required to act professionally, so too must officers be impartial and Justice blind. The requirements of the legal system must be allowed to play out.

We make no inferences in relation to any of the victims and are loathe to question the involvement of gang warfare dynamics. Suffice it to say the authorities must carefully analyse the nature of the crimes taking place and where necessary take decisive action. The fact of the matter is we are facing a crisis and action must be ramped up now.

It is clear security has to be bolstered not only at hospitals but more generally. Particular attention needs to be paid to downtown Port of Spain but as made clear by the shootout on the Eastern Main Road which followed the event nowhere is safe enough.


"Shooting themselves in the foot"

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