THE EDITOR: Maybe the time has come for the country to consider the possibility of removing national security from the purview of the political directorate.
As a nation, we have grown accustomed to a change in strategy and philosophy relative to national security every time there is a change in the government.
In 1986 was the year it seems crime was introduced to the national conversation politically.
Since then, successive administrations have committed probably billions of dollars in an attempt to reduce criminality and the fear of crime. Given the fear currently experienced in TT, it appears that expenditure has not resulted in value for money.
Notwithstanding this culture of change in strategy when a government changes, the People’s Partnership (PP) has demonstrated a level of political maturity probably by a genuine concern for the citizenry by effecting a policy of the PNM while that party was in power.
Deceased Martin Joseph during his tenure as minister of national security first conceptualised the collaboration between the state security apparatus and the private security industry. After the election of 2010, the People’s Partnership further advanced the partnership of the two entities.
Ministers John Sandy and Jack Warner presided over the formation of the Private Security Network Commission, and then-minister Gary Griffith initiated the Community Comfort Patrol.
During his ministerial tenure, Griffith publicly showered praises on the crime prevention initiative and this together with the National Operation Centre (NOC) were two strategies that were in effect during the 2014 to 2016 period when there was a decrease in reported crime.
The fact that the current commissioner has not initiated a programme that he once publicly commended as minister generates a level of sympathy for him if one were to empathise with him. Ignoring a successful crime prevention initiative which was operationally his brainchild at this time of public disquiet speaks volumes. Although the initiative was not focused on hotspots, the operational focus in residential areas realised a high level of comfort in all the communities which were patrolled.
On the assumption that the current commissioner is hard-pressed to advance a successful initiative due to political perceptions supports the theory that national security should be delinked from the political directorate.