On slippery slope to Haiti

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds - Grevic Alvarado
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds - Grevic Alvarado

THE EDITOR: Before I had the opportunity to respond to another of the idiotic statements from the TTPS on why police officers cannot use the body cams, we were hit with the dash cam video of the fatal crash in which the Kiss truck driver.

The funeral of Neil Ballai, an already sad incident, was compounded by it coinciding with his wedding anniversary.

The daily carnage in the form of multiple murders across the once peaceful landscape is taking a toll on the nation’s psyche. The cries of mothers pleading “he was a good boy” have been ridiculed. It appears the police have abandoned their responsibilities. The business community cries out for help, with DOMA leading the call. The headline screams, “Port of Spain bracing for ‘war.’”

The National Security Minister, pontificating from his ivory tower, claims that it is not his responsibility to ensure the safety of citizens. Weekends seem to be a good time for multiple murders, as the TTPS calculates and announces on Monday mornings the number of people murdered over the weekend.

The profile of the victims is no longer just “young men of African descent” from known “hot spots.” They now include elderly citizens killed in home invasions, senior citizens robbed of their pension, homes and business places ransacked, where victims are tied up and shot, strangled, or suffocated. They also include children of varying ages.

On waking to the news of a four-year-old being decapitated, we are told that “members of the TTPS may need counselling.” This is the same TTPS that has been ignoring earlier trends in murders as we watch the annual escalation.

The TTPS justifies its massive and collective incompetence under the preface of manpower shortage, vehicle shortage, equipment shortage. Its less than ten per cent murder detection rate appears to be quite acceptable to all and sundry.

I have stated time and again, a crime detected is not a crime solved. Detection can mean pulling in anyone from anywhere. Given the history of abuse by police officers, as evidenced in lawsuits and payouts, anything is possible.

Murder convictions usually come ten-15 years after someone has been charged. And many times the individuals are found not guilty, often resulting in additional lawsuits. Meanwhile, this is the same TTPS that has a 100 per cent reported and detected rate on narcotics. Manipulating numbers seem to be one of its better abilities.

And, of course, several cases are “cleared up” when one individual is murdered. We later learn that Willie Whatshisname was “a prime suspect and was wanted in connection with several murders. Funny, but the same Willie was seen bar-hopping for the past three years, even hanging out with police officers, buying drinks.

From where I sit as a professional, albeit retired, the escalation of murders directly correlate to several factors. The major factor would be the ease with which individuals escape detection. Everyone knows the police schedule, even their roadblock exercises are really exercises in futility.

Another and much deeper concern is the level of stress and frustration being shared by citizens. The frustrations come in many forms. We are aware that being frustrated is no reason to “act out.” But given that we are all different, our breaking points also vary. We are not at the same point intellectually, morally, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, financially, physically. We also see the frustrations best acted out on the nation's roads.

The frustrations and stress are experienced in the 800 hours, 20 working weeks a year sitting in traffic. Leaving home at 4 am to reach to work for 8 am and reaching home after 6-7 pm are beyond stressful.

It is felt in the grocery as we observe parents push items aside while they monitor the cash register. It is felt each time one turns on his/her tap and there is no water. It is felt when one’s salary is unable to make ends meet. It is felt when there seems to be no hope in terms of landing a job, even a half-decent job, after having followed the narrative of staying in school, some even graduating from college.

The frustration is felt when a parent must keep their child home from school because of lack of resources. When the school calls a single parent at work to say school is being dismissed for a lack of water. When our young men, especially of African heritage, are viewed as bandits.

And as gangs become more attractive and profitable, I see the slippery slope to Haiti taking root.




"On slippery slope to Haiti"

More in this section