By Raffique Shah
April 16, 2023
The criminal underworld has expanded and intensified its war against mostly law-abiding citizens by mounting brazen attacks against selected targets in open thoroughfares, damn the innocent victims who are seen as collateral damage. They have expanded ‘home invasions’ to the extent they now dominate the news.
We in the media disseminate news, reports and photos that boost our bottom lines, which counts when the success or failure is measured. What works even better for us is when we recruit experts in various fields whose pronouncements boost our credibility, and graphic designers who turn bloodbaths into acceptable breakfast fare among the decision makers in the society.
So when, last week Thursday on morning television I heard the irrepressible, and in my view reliable former Coast Guard Commander by rank and ex-head of the National Operations Center, Garvin Herah, dismiss the panic call by certain laders in the society for government to declare an emergency, and suggest instead ‘surgical strikes’ against known gang leaders and gangsters. I thought, here’s a man who thinks differently. Like me he was trained in military colleges and would tend to meet senseless violence with superior force and snuff it out before it does us in.
‘Surgical strikes’ as I know them are used in warfare to describe certain operations in a country against high profile targets— say the USA and Afghanistan— in which the former used remotely controlled drones armed with killer weapons and high-tech cameras that clearly identify targets, such as Osama Bin Laden, and unleash their Hellfire missiles.
I do not believe that’s what Heerah meant literally since in any case we do not possess, nor would I suggest they acquire such devastating weapons. What he probably meant was identifying these gang leaders and their ‘gangsta’ proteges who are leaving dead bodies and trails of blood all over the country as they kill, only to fatten their pockets. I don’t think any citizen will have a problem with eliminating known killers before they wipe out half of the districts they control. No, Heerah quite likely means the wealth of intelligence we should have in the relevant agencies be used to effectively stop the carnage by any means necessary.
Anyway, however the politicians may choose to respond to the overwhelming violence visited upon us by this handful of miscreants, Heerah at least offers an alternative that does not need to be anywhere as lethal as Hellfire rockets. For instance, drones can be armed with accurate rifles or machine guns that achieve less ambitious goals without harming innocent people who live nearby the gangsters’ palaces of abode. I don’t see any problem with using such weapons facing as we do heartless, mindless beasts who will kill their own people, innocent people at that, without a second thought.
But I was saying that the politicians, not the national security apparatus, make such decisions. And with so many equally mindless, visionless politicians running the country, we can’t expect much better from them.
Commander Garvin was brave enough to snuff out the idea of emergency powers being given to the above lot which they have used In the past. All they achieved was having to pay fairly sizeable sums to community leaders who live off the treasury and spill blood of innocent people farther and wider than they did before those emergencies. That’s all, nothing else. And, mark you many politicians from different parties share in the contracts rampage that seem to be a permanent feature on the corrupt landscape of this cussed country.
Before I could digest Heerah’s challenge to whoever is in government, to execute the few in order to salvage and make better the lives of the many, on the Tv set was criminologist Dr. Randy Seepersad whose face, cool composure and utter confidence analysed other approaches to dealing with crime. Seepersad who looked and spoke very professionally on different aspects of the causes of criminal behaviour with few suggestions as to how to deal with them, eliminated with dispatch what I understand is a social media phenomenon: assigning race to the crime equation. Before the dimwits could get far with their theory of Indians being the major victims of the bloodbath this country has endured for over the last twenty to forty years, Dr. Seepersad calmly responded: The statistics will show that young African males form the highest cohort of murder victims for many years in our country. And he moved on.
Later psychologist Dr. Haniff Benjamin was on another frequency blasting the mostly Afro-Tobagonian parents who allowed their children to attemd a concert in Tobago in which a young female artiste dished out cusswords like a George Street jamette, so I am told. Haniff is an old hand at dealing with older problems; like other professionals, he does not do the race dance. If only the politicians, the criminals and a population that can reason would listen to such words of wisdom.
2 thoughts on “Three Patriotic Tinis”
Glad to see that Mr Shah has finally awoken from his Balisier juice slumber and realized that that the number one issue in T&T today is violent crime against innocent citizens. When you are not safe and live in fear in your own home, or in public places you live a compromised and restricted life. The horrifying experience of the Ghany family during the home invasion of their home in Aranjuez last week should be a wake up call to all citizens that something needs to be done right now to address the escalating violent crime rate. The solutions will also require the concerted efforts of all levels of society not only the Government, Police, and Army, but also the Business Sector, Religious Organizations and most importantly the general public who unfortunately are always the victims. Wait much longer and we or someone we know will also be assaulted and victimized.
We need a grassroots “War on Crime” Where every community/village/ city block has its own long-term strategies/objectives/tactics/etc to deal with the crime situation in their neighborhood.
Let’s take home invasion as an example. Neighborhood cameras with 24 hour monitoring from a central command post combined with Quick Response Police Team could be an effective deterrent. City of London implemented this several years ago with considerable success.
Fellas, before we start being judge, jury and executioner and start shooting people we need to use our intelligence and adopt some practical solutions.
For once let us be our brothers keeper and look after each other. Unless we do so now, in the long run we will all be dead.
Crime and criminality will only increase as the PNM stay in power. The majority of criminals live in PNM constituencies and are strong supporters of the ruling party.
I would consider my mother and father as true patriots of TnT whilst they were alive. The robbed no one but were exemplary in hard work and leading by example. A patriot is not just someone who love their country but do all to protect (1) it’s image at home and abroad, (2) who work hard to earn an honest living, (3) who does what they can to help citizens lead a better life.
Patriotism stands as an abrasive rebuke to the current administration. Trinidad is the 6th in the world and number 1 in the Caribbean for crime. This is something to weep about but the partying in balisier house never cease. The Minister of National Security has no comforting words for those who have fallen under the barrel of a gun. The PM working with Caribbean counterparts has succeeded in putting a band on assault weapons. When he see the media he quicken his pace to meet his security escort. The current CoP has said things will improve by June. Meanwhile the criminals are roaming the streets looking for soft targets and those who appear to be wealthy. Long ago having a nice house was a symbol of wealth, today it is just a major attraction for the criminal elements.
The Rowley administration took away laptops at a crucial time during covid 19 and condemn the school children to being “duncy head children”. Thousands of children are now poised to enter the lucrative business of crime. Does crime pay in Trinidad? Yes it does pay very well. The police is impotent to solve homicide with a 13.5% detection rate. A “c” pass is not applicable when it comes to policing. Even an F and a D. That is how bad it is in sweet TnT. But they will ticket you for the smallest infraction and empty your bank account. The ticketing system is abnormally high but the crime detection system is…..
Folks kindly pray for TnT. Pray also that the PNM grip on the citizenry is broken.