LOUIS W WILLIAMS
WHAT IS the ultimate objective of some citizens who seem to delight in taking statements made by certain public officials out of context?
Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher, at a recent breakfast meeting hosted by the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce, in a passing remark stated: "One thing I am sure about – if not all of us, 99 per cent of us believe in a superior being, and we need to invoke the help of that being if we need to really bring Trinidad and Tobago back to that place where we want it to be..."
Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally has interpreted the remarks to be "A grave insult to all citizens, especially the victims of crime." He further remonstrated that "If Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher is seriously telling the nation that her major anti-crime initiative is to essentially 'pray murders and robberies away,' then she is unfit to manage the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service."
What absurdity from the Member of Parliament.
Firstly, although somewhat beside my main point, his remarks demonstrate an appalling lack of appreciation of the spiritual dimension of every human activity. We are not simply flesh and blood. Mankind is much more than that. There is good and evil in this world. There are evildoers who are intent on disrupting life on this planet and creating a state of perpetual chaos/destruction, and a murderous onslaught.
Those of us who do not subscribe to such nefarious activities must seek the guidance and protection of Almighty God as we combat these dark forces of evil. That does not mean we must throw our hands in the air in surrender to these dark forces and leave it solely to God to fight our battles for us.
The various religious texts bear this point out, as nearly all, if not all, have some passage/instruction affirming that God helps those who help themselves.
It was clear to me, and I dare say anyone who understood the context in which the CoP made her remarks, that they were to be considered along the lines expressed by me above, and not as a surrender to criminals, both white-collar and blue-collar, and leave it solely to God to fight the battle.
The CoP spent a great deal of time outlining her crime-fighting initiatives, as she had done previously when she appeared before a parliamentary committee. However, the one thing that stood out for Rambally was Harewood-Christopher's reference to the Supreme Being. I wonder why?
Notwithstanding the CoP's well thought-out plans/strategies and noble objectives, I am firmly of the view that her timeframe for the achievements she has targeted, given the resources currently available to her and the state of the infrastructure, is very ambitious. In this regard, nothing would please me more than to eat my words.
It goes without saying that the CoP has to find the right balance regarding the public disclosure of plans and strategies of the TTPS, as it would be a travesty if those with nefarious intent were to utilise the premature disclosure of such information to find ways to evade justice.
Also, occasionally I have heard/seen reported in the news media that an arrest was made based on information received from members of the public. To my mind, this can, potentially, place informants/witnesses in danger.
Rambally and his fellow parliamentarians need to focus their attention on how they can give much more support to law enforcement agencies and the judiciary by, among other things, the passage of appropriate legislation to ensure that justice is served.
The relevant agencies of government must ensure that law enforcement and the judiciary are adequately resourced. The administrative, legal and other systems/infrastructure must be reviewed and adjusted, periodically, to keep in step with current realities.
We are an inventive people having invented the steelpan. However, we do not need to reinvent the wheel. Many other democratic countries have faced similar issues and have found solutions that have universal application which can be adapted to our present circumstances.
It is a grave insult to victims of crime when the perpetrators (both white-collar and blue-collar) of crime make a mockery of the law by utilising obvious loopholes in the law and the delays inherent in the current system to escape justice, and our parliamentarians, so to speak, seem to be twiddling their thumbs while Rome burns.
Singapore abandoned the administrative nightmare of trial by jury decades ago. Apart from that, we all know how easy it is for jurors to be bribed/intimidated nowadays by perpetrators.
Singapore has also made, among other things, the illegal possession of firearms, drug trafficking and kidnapping death-penalty offences. Those in law enforcement, inclusive of Customs officials, who are proven to be complicit also receive the death penalty, which is enforced expeditiously. Singapore had ten murders in 2021 in a population of 5.7 million people. We can see why.
Our parliamentarians need to wake up from their slumber, smell the coffee, get busy and stop shedding crocodile tears.
The perpetrators of serious blue-collar and white-collar crimes are having a field day. Moreover, the handful of lawyers who routinely defend these miscreants, in the best traditions of the legal profession, are getting richer off the ill-gotten gains of these clients. Defence attorneys have no role in judging their clients' guilt or innocence. Attorneys are obligated to provide their clients with the best defence possible.
Lord lend a hand!
Rest assured, Rambally, that divine justice awaits us all. It is real and infallible. None shall escape!