Emergency Notes

By Raffique Shah
September 11, 2011

Raffique ShahTHE best crime-fighting measures emerging from the Emergency thus far are the medium-term initiatives Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced when she wound up the motion that saw Parliament extend the State of Emergency for three months. The Selwyn Ryan committee that will look at curbing criminality, the case-flow-management team of attorneys, the proposed amnesty for minor offences and the possible release from prison of convicts who no longer pose a threat to society, if aggressively pursued, would yield more benefits to the society than the steep drop in crimes during the Emergency.

The challenge will be whether the various committees and teams are allowed to function effectively. Politicians have a way of making grandiose plans and appointing the best people to formulate them. But they fail to lend adequate support as the committees get down to work. Worse, if the recommendations do not find favour with Government, they are unceremoniously cast aside.

I need add that some of these measures were touted by the Patrick Manning administration—abolition of preliminary enquiries, reconstruction of East Port of Spain, rehabilitation units in the prisons, to name three. Somehow, they got lost along the way as criminals grew in stature and communities came under siege.

Will this Government allow preventative measures and restorative justice to replace the punitive systems that have helped spawn more criminals thus far? I can only hope they will. Because if they fail, if at the end of the time-limited SoE we see nothing new, it would be only a matter of time before we return to the savagery of yesterday.

I should like to add my two-cents-worth to the initiatives already announced. I have long queried why magistrates and judges insist on jailing drug addicts, except when they commit serious crimes. Besides negatively affecting overcrowded prisons, we are dealing with a revolving-door phenomenon. They enter today, are released two months later, only to return again and again.

Government must consider setting up some properly policed rehabilitation centres, preferably in Chacachacare or one of the other islands. It will cost us some, but the long-term savings will be worth it.

There is also an urgent need to flush the prisons of petty offenders in order to save them from becoming hardened criminals, and to make room for savages who are beyond redemption. I know that prison is a “crime factory”. I have been there, seen how it works, so I write with authority. The electro-nic monitoring devices Government proposes to introduce offer a window for addressing this option.

Regarding the judicial system, the population needs to know why certain lethal offenders sit in jail for years, “calling shots” on witnesses and associates on the outside as they await snail-paced-justice. Is there not a prioritising procedure that can see such matters dispensed with in short order?

I have read about, and listened to, some victims of police and army emergency powers, and they are frightening. One radio personality, who is on air and available to the police anytime they choose, reported how he was picked up last week, in the dead of night, thrown into a cell and spent 12 hours in custody—for a $200 traffic offences ticket he had not paid. He said that a fire officer was similarly treated, as were four persons who had failed to pay child-maintenance money.

They were in a crowded cell with at least one murder accused, and they were not told why until long after they had been dragged from their homes.

Several other persons who were not arrested or charged with any offence were badly beaten by police officers or soldiers. Yet others “disappeared” after being arrested.

Surely, Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and Brigadier Kenrick Mahabir cannot be proud of their charges who acted, and continue to act, like hoodlums. If you use emergency powers to arrest persons for petty offences, that’s tantamount to abuse! Come on! You can do better if you want to play the numbers game.

On another note, my colleagues in the media are going overboard reporting on “high-powered” guns found or seized by the police or army. All guns are deadly—from a .22 pistol to a .9mm sub-machine gun and a 7.62mm rifle. So every firearm recovered means one fewer gun in the hands of criminals. I have said, from the start of the SoE, I’d prefer the armed forces seize 1,000 firearms and arrest 100 gangsters than the other way round.

Still, let’s stop the sensationalism. Reports of sniper’s weapons and long-range, rapid-fire guns recovered can be misleading. Do we know of a single case in this country in which a rifle was used from 1,000 metres to murder someone? Not one! Those jokers would miss their targets from beyond 20 metres!

Is there evidence of criminals using rapid-fire weapons in their murderous exploits? One newspaper reported that the police found a “gun capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute”. Only a GPMG, or similar medium machine gun, has that capability.

My knowledge of weapons tells that a sub-machine gun may have been used in the killing-spree in Arima that triggered the SoE. Have the police recovered that weapon? I think not. Ballistics, combined with forensic examinations of the victims’ corpses, can tell. Go after guns like that.

Regarding the arms cache found in Las Cuevas, clearly, those rusted .303 rifles and assorted guns are now useless. It would be informative, though, to learn where they came from and who buried them there. The .303 rifle was the standard personal weapon in the Defence Force up to 1966, and in the Police Service until 1970.

17 thoughts on “Emergency Notes”

  1. Raffique Shah should be a member of the Selwyn Ryan committee. His vast experience, knowledge and military expertise make him a valuable resource.

  2. “This international year offers a unique opportunity to redouble our efforts to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that affect people of African descent everywhere,”
    Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.”

    For the morally depraved ,ill informed, politically naive, and many socially disingenuous ,please note that the surest part to true security, peace , and thus overall development , must of necessity, begin with ‘respecting the other,’ be they your racial competitors ,or assumed inferiors.
    It matters little, if it’s played out in a modern day Crusade against Islamist in Iraq/Afghanistan,by criminal pseudo Christians, or barbarian Islamist ,on their numerically dominant Hindu brothers and sisters in India.
    The Jews who think that their peace are guaranteed, so long as their Arab Palestinian neighbors ,are prevented from acquiring a State like they did, is no different to the Sinhalese majority,who have no compassion for their Tamils brothers and sisters in Sri Lankan.
    We are aware of the embers of hatred ,that burned bright, during savage white South Afrikans Apartheid era,as well as the bosoms of too many genocidal maniacs from Rwanda,Sudan, and Former Yugoslavia. As for Sweet, Sweet, T&T,aka Jambalaya / Calaloo Country?
    Well … ‘you alls’ can fill in the blanks, as to who are the victims,as opposed to the selfish , HATEFUL , aggressors, with a not too subtle ,social agenda, that cries loudly , long into the night, like by boyhood neighbor’s , sexually laschievious cats , while enjoying the spoils at their disposal. It is evident , that a repeated negative economic and political policy that persist , within sections of the Industrialized world ,but more so , across the stage of the Global North/ South divide, will naturally have dire consequences- especially for perpetrators.
    Halt , is the word of warning to all you power mongrels,and deceptive others,suddenly attempting to straddle the fence ,forever cloaked in your ‘Pontius Pilot robes.’
    Names are unnecessary , as they know who they are ,as many somehow take sadistic pleasure, in attempting to destroy global Afrikans,by words, thoughts , deeds ,and action, when possible.
    You are doomed to fail!!
    Long live much maligned ,yet resilient ,global Afrikan peoples, decedents of kings and Queens. Rise up and shine , so as to take your rightful place globally. Do not let the lives, and blood of 12.5 million people that were stolen from the motherland via the Middle passage- like no other race on earth was – to be forgotten, and or wasted.
    We continue to wish our people , and by extension ,T&T,our under achieving country ,well, yes?

  3. It is a fact that when countries jail drug addicts, for being in possession of a few grains or grams of whatever they choose to choke on, they are often exposing them to hardened criminals who have nothing to lose. They make wonderful teachers, I understand, and can so affect the mind of the young, that a hardened crimminal, part 2 is the result. Those in prison long tern, do not love the system that sent them there, and they can thus daily harangue the short term person doing a stint for drug use until that the person who is released is angry. bitter, vengeful.

    There may also be the need to work on family attitudes to people who have been to prison. About ten years ago, a woman from the Couva area was released from prison. She hadbeen charged with murdering an abusive husband, and her case finally founf favour with the authorities. She had no relatives who would take her in, including the ones who had taken over her house. Now, if she had taken a swiper as a tool of eviction against those thieving relatives, it would have been straight back to jail for her.

    The Ministry of Social Welfare must get involved in prisoner release, to help the errant person who has served his /her time to transit again to a law abiding citizen. To leave them dangling out there alone, abandonned by family, is the cruelest cut of all. Effective rehabilitation means helping the released person find a job, housing, and if needed , a small state allowance until they get back on their feet.This could be a loan, to satisfy the mean spirited who would be offended at a prisoner now ex, getting something free from the state. In this case, we could follow the example of Saudi Arabia, and their Guantanamo detainees who were released. The ones adjudged to be non-criminal were given an apartment, a job and a car, and helped to find a wife. US news people were astonished. They saw this as rewarding criminals. The SAudis pointed out that these people had been to prison, but were not necessarily criminals. Giving a man the means to begin a good life for himself, they said, was the best guarantee that he would not go back to prison. That made a lot of sense to me.We tend to punish not only the ex-prisoner, but his children”He fadder make a jail yes.” Poor uneducated, insensitive, us.

  4. Build bigger jails to house these criminals, keep them out of the population. It is the only way to maintain peace in T&T. When a man makes a decision to engage in crime he must not be treated as a victim who needs help, by golly, he must be treated as a criminal who have no respect for the laws and people of the land.

    Too many excuses for these gun tooting murderers. If they go out there and kill they have lost all rights. Some people say they are poor and illiterate and that to me is another set of silly excuses to waste state resources in giving them cash to behave themselves.

    Build bigger prisons with that money and keep these social degenerates off the civilized population. It is always funny when they lift up one criminal as the example of rehabilation…To one there is always a thousand who cannot be rehabilitated…And they must be put away. No question asked.

    Jail em all Or send them to Linda home to live.

  5. Mamoo, based on the low level of morality and deficiency of thinking skills you demonstrate, you are a more grave and present danger to yourself than any ‘gun-toting criminal’ could ever be.

    Also, given your ‘thinking’, I am not surprised at your blatant disrespect for Ms. Linda Edwards who, by her name is likely not Indian and given her discussion points must more than likely be a Black woman.

    What I am surprised at is that you have not yet recommended concentration camps with gas ovens and acid baths as the most effective way to eliminate these ‘gun-toting criminals’.

    I would not include ‘extradition’ as one of your options for dealing with the problem of crime, but thought not since that is the way in which to be able to elect politicians into Parliament, and something of which you might likely highly approve.

    1. That is the PNM way of thinking Neverdirty, that is why the criminals took over sweet T&T. Manning did not have the guts to take them out, rather he call them community leaders. What community were they leading? Neverdirty people like you have no compassion for the true victims, the mother who lost her son, the innocent teenager who lost his life (collateral damage). Do you feel the pain of these people? Do you see the children left behind without a father or mother to look after them?

      Neverdirty crime paid under the PNM, URP contracts, CEPEP contracts all kinds of programs. The truth is it NEVER worked. It did NOT work then and it will NOT work under the PP. What is needed is bigger jails that could house an additional thousand inmates. Criminals are the scumbs of the earth and that is the way they should be treated. Nuff said.

    2. Neverdirty you attacking on racial grounds, all opinions are valid in the fight against crime, whether it’s in South Africa, India, or TnT. If the majority of criminals are off a certain race, then you seem to insenuate a disregard for that, let us sugar coat it with political correctness. I say charge them all, Indian, Black, Chinese, Syrians, etc. top down bottom up regargless of political affiliation.

      1. Alim Socorro, if I were ‘attacking on racial grounds’ you would not have to lie, nor deceive yourself, claiming that I am.


        Because I am one Black man, born of Black people who were never timid of who they were, whether fighting on the front lines in T&T for universal adult suffrage, thereby ensuring that ungrateful late-comers like you would today have equal rights; equal rights for which, the main contributions of your forbears were to be the willing and faithfully treacherous fifth columnists siding with the executioners against Black people and independence.

        My heritage does not come from the likes of Manning and now Rowley, Black-skinned men as scared of being Black as they are of Indians.

        That is why Kamla and others can accuse them at will of hating Indians, knowing they do not have the ba*ls to take the fight to the hilt to idiots.

        Neither is my heritage that of a Daaga who, for tinseled scraps has sacrificed his political virginity to rescue the interests of political pimps.

        If you and Mamoo met me, without knowing them you would nonetheless know that you have met a descendant honoured to carry the heritage of Nanny, of Dessalines, of Malcolm, of Cudjoe, of Harriet, of Bambatta, of Rosa Parks.

        So, accuse Black people who know neither themselves, nor you, of playing race cards.

        Accuse me, if you must, of playing for keeps!

  6. Very well, Mr. Shah, let’s get a move on with the change in thought process. A must read is the “Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy” of June 2011. And while a lot of these esteemed personnle are ‘Former’ leaders they nonetheless were involved in policies that they have come to realise need to be changed. This will realign the focus and then maybe the ‘criminal element’ will not show a growth that outpaces the population growth.
    The big question at the end will be, “Do we have the nerve to make drastic changes in countries west of the Atlantic that go against the current policies espoused by the US of A??

  7. I am reading a book about the Guatemalan Freedom Fighters of the ’90’s. When I was doing a work stint in Belize in 1993, that country had had a rush of “illegal Immugrants” across the border over a week. This doubled Belize’s population. If you read some of the testimonies of these people, they sound so much like Trinis who have been treated like dirt for hundreds of years. If I did not have an education that lets me buy all I want(A PNM EDUCATION, That MAmoo apparently made biche from), if I did not come from a family that valued education, and bought books before we bought clothes or shoes, I too could have turned to crime as a means of making a living. We are still open as to who are the real criminals in TNT. Had a concerned agent of CLICO not helped me to get my funds back, I may have taken a gun to Mr. Dpy’s head, and firebombed his five properties in Florida. Had Harriarine stolen my money and loaned it to Costa Ricans, I may have gone for his throat also.
    Criminals are not born, they are made by the injustices of the society.The unredressed griviances of an orange seller in a small town in Tunisia led to the Arab Spring. He first sought redress in the police station but was laughed at. He set himself on fire, which lit fires from Morocca to Syria. Mnnhmm.
    I used to teach children who slept with their sneakers on, in case they had to run in the night. HArdly a lifestyle of first choice.Ignorant people speak, because they are like two peas in a tin can. I speak to point a better wy forward for our society tottering on the brink of failure.I do this for my nieces and nephews whose names reflect every ethnicity, including Baboolal and Ali, as well as Gonales, and deLeon.

    1. Linda Edwards wrote—“We are still open as to who are the real criminals in TNT. Had a concerned agent of CLICO not helped me to get my funds back, I may have taken a gun to Mr. Dpy’s head, and firebombed his five properties in Florida. Had Harriarine stolen my money and loaned it to Costa Ricans, I may have gone for his throat also.
      Criminals are not born, they are made by the injustices of the society…”

      “Criminals are not born”–I tend to disagree with that because criminality comes from the nature of sin and all are born in sin and shappen in inquity. Meaning that the impluse to commit crime exist in all human beings. A man is not a liar because he tells one lie, he is a liar because he is born with the nature to lie.

      A native Indian took two dogs each Saturday to fight and people placed their bets. He could accurately predict which dog was going to lose the battle everytime. One day someone came up to him and ask him how did he know. He simply replied “the dog that was well fed during the week was the dog who was going to win.” And so in the grand scheme of things it is really the ideas that people are embracing that shapes their world view. If they believe they are victims and are constantly told that they are victims eventually they will start acting like victims.

      As for Dbry + Harna, they were victims of a volatile market and when the economies of the world crashed the mark bust on their investments. Investing is a gamble and only a fool would not know that. Just ask Bernie Madoff..

      As for the gun tooting, shot gun-riders the government must build bigger prisons to accommodate these social misfits. Pumping more money into these areas will never solve the problem….Besides it more like bribery. People must want to do right. They must want to work, love and care for others. These values can only come from an environment that promotes it instead of promoting victimhood.

  8. Many of these MPS in these crime stricken areas have let down their constituents. THEY HAVE LEFT THEM at the HANDS OF DRUG LORDS, COME GANG LEADERS. WHERE WAS THE VISION FOR THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

    WHAT DID THEY EXPECT THE GANG LEADERS TO DO ? BE GOOD ROLE MODELS FOR THE YOUTHS THEY WERE leading? Instead take took many innocent youths into crime, we are now paying the price while the MPs wine and DINE.!!!

  9. There are folks who still claim that race does not matter. Well, maybe it’s just the nature of global Afrikans folks, for with few exceptions, many who have assumed power -be it in the economic spheres , or political realms -evolve into the same sort of leaders- neglectful, and or , abusive to their own kind, while appeasing, and uplifting everyone else, that does not look like them- irrespective of long term consequences.
    It matters little folks , where they are situated , whether the pristine quarters of more greatly developed ,industrial countries , or rather , the poorer enclaves, of less developed countries , some ladened with vast underground , and natural resources, such as ours possess in abundance.
    It is why one cannot really win a debate , with the likes of say a T- Man , and his close buddy mamoo- faulty as their logic sometimes can be, especially when it comes to crimes.
    I subscribe to the view that loosing an election or two along the way ,is good for a political party , as it prevents them from taking the people they represent for granted, when they again assume power.
    Say what you wish about our Indo Trini brothers, and sisters, but their leaders always recognize ‘where dey bread butter,’ as the old folks would say, as they never hesitate to do what is necessary to enhance power , and further the cause of the tribe.
    Queen K, and her political crew , are of the view that they have a mandate to do what they are doing ,throughout our country. Some are screaming to the top of their lungs that this is a futile , politically distracting exercise , with limited returns for our nation , but who cares about them?
    As long as the present power brokers ,posses leaders from the Afrikan diaspora , that are willing to run roughshod over the rights of their own , in efforts to be part of the ’30 PIECES OF SILVER , spotlight desirous/ craving action ,’they will therefore continue so to do ,with impunity,irrespective of the long term consequences- even to them.
    Speaking of reading books Madame L, I am just reading snippets of one of my old IR books , entitled ‘Words over War : Midiation and Arbitration to prevent Deadly Conflicts.’ Here is a quote to reflect my point on ethnic /racially driven politics.
    “The Clinton administration deserves considerable credit for it’s sustained support of the Northern Ireland peace process. The administration ,though limited in it’s ability to directly influence the peace process, voluntarily adopted a facilitating role involving passive economic support for Northern Ireland…and active encouragements for the parties committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.”
    By the way it was under this same President’s watch that 800,000 Rwandans were murdered, but Yugoslavians engaging in the same savagery were saved in Europe. It was under his stewardship that Haitian boat people were returned en massed to suffer, while white looking Jews, and Cubans taken care of.
    Some say coalition / alliance governments as played out by the PP in multi racial/ ethnic / maybe ideologically diverse T&T, are not only good , but inevitable, and this may be so.
    It did not work out for Pappa ANR ,aka ‘Awe wee bouy,’ and we know why- god rest the soul of de Castaria kid , who by any analysis ,left Tobago worst off, than he met it- something that would not have occurred had he and his ancestors perhaps initially emerge from a different part of the world -but again as the old folks would often say ,’dat’s a horse of a different color ,’ and a discussion best left for another occasion.
    Well , I cannot leave it ,so Uncle Panday!!
    ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant ,’ as you have done a wonderful job of fostering a culture , both in and out of power.
    Queen K , understands it, so does COP pitbull ,AG Rammy, and Trini Economist head guru, Dookie, Dr Goopiesing de genocidal observer,and Rambachan , aka Uncle Jack Warner prospective ‘takedowner.’
    What do you know, for even your baby brother get’s it! Notice how, even if he is in disagreement with the overall draconian ,over the top SECURITY policy , he has tucked his tail between his legs, and slithered away like a Palo Seco Zandolee, leaving the way clear for Princess Mikela Panday to get into Queen K’s good graces , and take over the party .. down the road? Ahhh , one hand can’t clap, as the old folks used to say.
    Put differently , dis is our time , but just with a different spin, yes? ‘Luv tribe and country,’ some say.They just might be correct, as this is much more expedient, yes?
    We wish our people well, and by extension , our beautiful country.
    Stay engaged folks, as those jails that mamboo wish to be constructed ,just might be useful some day very soon ,hopefully, when we look at white color crooks and bandits ,with the same contemptuous disgust , and unleash our venom in like manner to them, as we do presently , for low caste ,illiterate ,blue color scums, yes?


  10. Economists say that there are about twelve families that run the world. Trinidad does not have ANY of them, so our politicians peep out from behind their offices, afraid to offend the powerful,lest they be removed from their place like Jean Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti was, and Salvador Allende the democratically elected president of Chile was. At least, Aistide was left alive, but to be kidnapped in the middle of the night, and shipped to some African country where you have never been and has no friends, while Caricom nieghbours tut-tutted, was the ultimate criminal act in these parts. It put fear in Manning, Kamla and all the Caricom leaders. They now toe the line of the gunsellers. They create the conditions to frighten the governments into buying expensive weapons, because the thief cannot be better armed tan the pohleece, or so the argument goes.

  11. “Twelve families that run the world,..”and T&T , ain’t have none Madame L? Then what do you call the Panday clan? As PM , papa Basdeo ,was able to get two TT$1.3 million,free grants ,for both of his already budding elitist ,privileged daughters, to study law in Britannia ,den as soon as the ink dry on one oh dem diploma – if she passed her classes at all-she was able to run back home to Oropuche , and win an election , while nightly ,partying, and drinking like a fish, with some unmentionable Tethron freaks, in like manner to pappa when he was a young Oxford aspiring, oats spreading , actor.


    Does that not mean you can run the world, especially if for all the crookedness of their papa, not one finger was laid on him , we have our favorite Privy Council , while the Caribbean Court of Appeal languish?
    On a serious note however,I never really cared much for dem economist , Madam L , be they T&T financial ministerial guru Dookie , Nobel winner ,Paul Krugman , or World Bank big fish Christina Savescu,as these guys can never agree on anything .
    Look what dis woman saying Madame L. Was she drunk when dis statement was made? ‘5000 murders per year Jamaica , is achieving more growth than better run T&T.’
    Is dis woman crazy, or just hoping that Queen K, should cut up her blank check book ,that kept dem scrounging/scrounting , Caribbean islands afloat, and instead give it all to her voting savvy ,South American cousins ,in Guyana?


    Look madame L , let us leave this pointless T&T foolishness call politics, and watch our Presidential debate to see if any oh dem GOP bozos ,can unseat your Uncle Obama come 2012.
    Taking bets, on your none merciful , death penalty obsessed , social security ponzi hating Texan Rick,aka G.W.Bush de 2nd, since we know the Mormons don’t have a chance?
    Ah de death penalty Madame L,and yes we know why Queen K ,Rick Perry,and COP pitbull Rammy love it, but will little black boys and their papas? Would low caste , Indo Trini families, unable to afford Ramesh, or Israel Khan , like it?


  12. “Surely, Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj cannot be proud of their charges who acted, and continue to act, like hoodlums. If you use emergency powers to arrest persons for petty offences, that’s tantamount to abuse! Come on! You can do better if you want to play the numbers game”

    Jail em all. Little crimes lead to bigger crimes. A criminal don’t just become a criminal over night. It is a series of progressive stages that lead to such lawlessness.

    First it is a traffic offense, then stealing time on job, then spousal abuse, then drinking and driving, then living with the neighbour wife, finally gang memeber and murderer. Citizens must always choose to live on the right side of the law. When people break traffic laws they encourage others to do so. With the traffic deaths at a very high level compared to other nations, there is nothing minor about a traffic violation.

    Some time ago I was in Mayaro driving up to Manzanilla and was horrified to see the amount of cups, bottles, paper and all kinds of garbage strewn over all the place. To some people that would be a minor offense. So each citizen choose to commit a “minor offense” and it the result is a smelly, ugly and horrible looking environment. Is that the world people want to live in…

  13. Who cares mamboo, certainly not Uncle Gibbs, as long as he get his Canadian dollars , he is going to be happy- which only proves that ‘crimes pays.’
    You comedians can jail them , free them , hang them all , and T&T will still remain a backward, 3rd world ,criminal den, ladened with mainly greedy ,corrupt businessmen,and the visionless politicians they support.
    In the means time ,enough with this boring, distracting T&T politics . Just join a few of us, and celebrate natural, authentic Afrikan beauty , as we salute one of my favorite , yet under achieving ,Afrikan countries ,Angola.
    Such resilience in spirit, and I am not speaking about what I read in some text book, having seen it up close with my own eyes.
    Just hope that you culturally confused clowns in T&T , don’t ever experience even 1% of what the exploited ,resource ladened , yet divided country of Angola,and it’s citizens endured- both at the hands of foreigners , and domestically by their own barbarians ,since independence.
    By the way , please tell the local T&T Miss Universe pageant organizers , to stop feeding us these European wannabe, representatives. They can never replicate another Penny.
    It’s a beautiful day, ennnt?


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