THE EDITOR: A major election platform promise made by the various political parties which have occupied the corridors of power in our country was to solve the crime problem. However, in spite of the best efforts of the present administration, citizens are still living in fear. So it must be asked: How much is being done with the tangible resources provided to arrest the fears of law-abiding citizens when so many crimes go unresolved?
The low rate of detection exists because the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are always one step ahead of the police. As such, any gains claimed to have been made by the police, such as last year’s 50 per cent reduction in shootings and woundings as compared to the previous year, did not translate to a 50 per cent reduction in homicides, as pointed out by Police Commission Gary Griffith in a media conference on May 18, 2020, nearly one year ago.
In the minds of the general public such claims quickly dissipate and the police are left wanting, giving the impression that nobody in authority seems to really care about the bloodshed as a result of people being murdered almost daily.
Moreover, the startling revelation made by Griffith, at the same conference, of a $50 million burden being placed on the pockets of taxpayers every year for 300 police officers on suspension on disciplinary matters with pay and who should have had their matters cleared up in several months, but after ten years had not, is equally troublesome.
Incidentally, what is the current situation on this disturbing matter? Was there any improvement? The remedy for such an unacceptable situation lies in legislative reform as it pertains to the Police Service Act and the Special Reserve Police Act, as pointed out in the conference by head of the police legal unit, Christian Chandler.
This is easier said than done since such sweeping legislative reforms will certainly need the support of the parliamentary opposition that is usually inclined to oppose for opposing sake, usually on spurious grounds.
CoP Griffith stated quite categorically in the 2020 media conference that high-powered weapons like the AR-15 and AK-47 were becoming the popular weapons of choice for criminals. Referring to police statistics he remarked that the number of high-powered weapons seized over the previous two years had risen.
Last month’s grand seizure suggests that the police are on an upward mobility. However, unless the Opposition joins ranks with the Government and lends its support to crucial pieces of legislation which could help reduce, in particular, gang-related homicides and so help the police, they will be fighting a losing battle.
All of this coupled with the fact that police officers themselves are being charged with committing crimes make citizens feel hopeless and disenchanted, thus leaving them bewildered. As it stands now a culture of death is pervading our society. The Opposition must therefore get its act together and help the Government return the country to a culture of life as the window to act is shrinking.
Moreover, since crime is everybody’s business, there is a dire need for citizens themselves to rediscover the values of honesty and brotherhood otherwise our country will continue its despair on this worrisome matter. Parents must resolve to take the first step in saving TT, because at the end of the day the family will determine the extent to which the culture of life is achieved.
For far too long, and at our own peril, the teachings and practices of our forefathers have been ignored, resulting in the breakdown of moral and spiritual values in the home, school, workplace and, by extension, the national community.