Detaining ‘big fish, small fish’

By Derren Joseph
December 05, 2011

Derren JosephBritain’s Channel 4 aired a documentary called Trinidad: Guns, Drugs and Secrets. On the night in question, I deliberately avoided watching it. The following day, as I signed onto Facebook, I saw links to it on so many profiles that I ended up watching the whole thing—twice. The two interviews that I found most interesting were the one with the resident from Laventille and the one with the Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. For me, these two represented the opposing sides of this ongoing debate over the state of emergency (SoE) and the current Government’s approach to crime.

On one hand, the Laventille resident was adamant that the SoE was implemented too superficially to make any lasting impact. Specifically, only “small fish” were being detained and as one was taken off the street, another took his place. He was critical of the silence over the role of the “big fish” that oversee the drug trade and walk around with false airs of respectability in the wider society. This is a sensitive topic given the $2 million in drugs hidden among car parts last September, and the $34.6 million in drugs hidden among chicken parts in another container this year. Neither of these incidents has led to an arrest. Bottom line—when the SoE is finally lifted, it will be business as usual as the enabling criminal infrastructure is left untouched.

On the other hand, the PM’s security adviser did make a good point. In every country, there are corrupt law enforcement officials, corrupt politicians and so on. Dealing with these issues takes time as institutions are reformed. In the meantime, the SoE serves to at least, slow down the murder rate in particular—a rate that everyone agrees is completely out of control. I agree with the views of both the Laventille resident and the PM’s security adviser as they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. My hope and my prayer is that the PM and her advisers have the courage to address the issues at their core. I say “courage” because we are talking about profound legislative changes and more importantly—an attack on our political culture itself.

Let me explain. I do not think that I am alone in believing that key to addressing the ongoing crisis of law and order, is addressing the ongoing crisis of governance—hat crisis of governance? I see a system where, despite the best intentions of well-intentioned elected officials, power and state resources are too often, mismanaged. This poor governance allows the breakdown in order and the relative unenforceability of laws. There is no need for me to describe what I mean by mismanaged resources. Rather, I would touch on three issues of governance that feed the crisis of law and order from which no one is safe—not even residents of the most well-protected gated communities.

Firstly, we must dismantle the ability of any ruling party to almost unilaterally make appointments to positions of national importance. These appointments must be opened to some level of public scrutiny, perhaps through the legislature. As I said in a previous column, given the control the ruling party enjoys, it may just be a formality, but it at least supports some level of transparency. A transparency which may help in preventing some of the clear mistakes we see today. Secondly, the Executive must institute and enforce proper mechanisms for awarding state contracts. No need to start from scratch, we have the recommendations of the $50 million dollar Uff Enquiry to guide us.

To date, these recommendations have yet to be meaningfully implemented. Removing the lure of easy high profile positions and the potential to get state contracts without a robust tendering process would be revolutionary. Why? Because businesses would be forced to invest in innovation and research rather than the easier path of funding political parties in return for access to the treasury. Thirdly, we need better “separation of powers” to free the legislature from executive dominance. The easiest way being to separate the role of Member of Parliament, from Minister. Constituents would enjoy more focused representatives and those who only crave the trappings of a ministry would be discouraged from putting themselves forward.

These three would not solve everything but it would severely disrupt the present political culture. A culture that supports poor resource management, allows if not encourages corruption and creates an environment where disorder and criminality by the “big fish” goes unpunished which in turn incentivises the “small fish”. Big fish ultimately cause much greater damage than small fish. My name is Derren Joseph and I love my country and my region. Despite our challenges, I have the audacity of hope in the future of our blessed land.

6 Responses to “Detaining ‘big fish, small fish’”


  • Yet another embarrassment to the Current Government of this Country! Can anyone really imagine that you have held persons in connection with the Alleged? Plot to assassinate the Prime Minister Kamala Persad-Bissessar and three other Government Ministers of a country and have had to free these persons due to sufficient evidence?

    Well yes! This has occurred among the many other men held under the recent State Of Emergency that came to an end Last midnight. Now the country as me will have many burning questions to ask;

    1. Did the SOE serve its purpose?
    2. Was it properly planned and executed?
    3. How does the government feel about the amount of persons held under the SOE and had to be freed due to insufficient evidence?
    4. How do the protective Services feel about this?
    5. Did they “the government really need to call a SOE in order obtain so many drugs an ammunition?
    6. Could this have been done using the same protective services to accomplish what have been accomplished through the SOE?
    7. The plot against the PM & Three Other Government Ministers; was this really true?
    8. Could this have been a hoax to divert the country to something else while they quietly do other mischievous things while in government?
    9. Was it done to delay the Trade Unions to practise their rights for Workers?
    10. Prior to the statement made by the PM; that it is Alleged “the Plot of Assassination does she expect the country and by far the world to now believe her and her government?
    11. Was this done to gain support from other governing bodies around the world to the greater of her favouritism?

    Well Madam PM you are now faced with further questions and allegations from many individual persons on your governing principles while you are in office. You now need to come out and give a proper explanation for such embarrassment to our Beloved Country of Trinidad & Tobago and all its inhabitants.

    P. Quash

  • It is a disgusting thing to see trindiad and Tobago in the state that it is in all because of greeed. Has anyone ever taken a good look at a burial the space you get is no bigger than a coffin so what are you leaving with nothing so what is all the greed and killing about. Trinidad has lost its’ values we were a people who knew how to have a good laugh, we knew how to share whatever little we had we enjoyed our beaches any hour any time now we live like we are in prison all time all windows doors etc in bars we need to really take a good look at who we have become

  • It is a bit challenging to catch the “big fishes” but the fact that drugs are being found in containers I would say is a good sign. The big fishes have money (they can buy anybody), lawyers and weapons to back it all up. The big fishes were fed or ignored by the Manning administration. They knew who the big fishes were but appease them with quarries, URP & CEPEP contracts, ghost gangs etc. The result was the big fishes simply grew bigger and more controlling of the little fishes.

    The PP has undertaken the challenge to find big and small fishes putting their administration at serious risk from the crime bosses who are using the internet, talk shows and other public medium to launch a psychological attack on the government. Every day commentators are asking “have the SOE worked” and the response would be yes because statiscally T&T have at least over 100 less murders in the same period last year. But the big fishes pay these commentators to say it has NOT worked.

    The SOE was suggested to Mr. Manning by a committee headed up by Ken Gordon. The areas identified were agreed to be crime hotspots by the PNM. The PP implemented the plan. Where I am a bit disappointed was the length of time it took to process those arrested. They should not have been incacerated for more than a week. Take them in, process them either charge them or release them. Criminals now have a choice, to do the right thing or to go back to the life of crime where the end would be an early exit out of this life.

    At best the PP is now beginning to realise how difficult it is manage certain segments of the population. Criminals and defenders of criminals are using whatever means possible to try and discredit the government. I guess they would have been happy if more dead bodies covered in blood were left on the streets of a nation traumatized too long by the criminal elements. The union leaders have join the PNM to try and discredit the SOE by saying it was a failure. I guess they too are singing for their bacon, saltfish and bread.

  • Ahhhh mamboo,enough already , with your PNM dis ,and PP dat nonsense, when it comes to security,since if we were to use any form ‘oh yardstick of assessment,’both Manning,and your Queen K , can be considered as abject failures,especially ,in the eyes of those that count, namely ,de voters.
    Unfortunately , your typical , pathetic defense of repeated failures,to first identify , then make a concerted efforts ,to go after Central, South ,Eastern , and fake European Western business mongols, who brought in dangerous weapons, and destructive drugs ,while hell bent ,on making quick profits , and creating undue harm across our country, then lay blame on low end , illiterate , mental degenerate kinky head , mainly Afrikan , and unlucky , sub class ,poor Indo Trini kids , makes you loose all credibility whatsoever, and so not worth reading.
    Then however,both you and I, are of absolutely no significance in dis debate , stuck as we are , in our Eurocentric enclaves across frigid, Norte Americana.
    There is much work to be done , and so your energies can be best served ,in trying to see what we can individually, and collectively do ,to help salvage our country’s fledging dignity , and bring it back up to some form of respectability, in de eyes of the global community. After all , we survived false claims of refugee status, and despicable claims of genocidal discrimination , so what is this to over come , ennnnt?
    What a sad day , to tout to the world that I am from Trinidad & Tobago.
    However de people made their beds , and so, we must all lie in it. What is even more frightening mamboo,is the sad fact ,that we might have to endure this ‘PP ,1 step forward , 12 steps backward, political ,jig and dance,’ for perhaps another 8 years,as the majority of folks that comprise the PNM Opposition, are still stuck in first gear,trying to win a Monte Carlo ,or Indianapolis 500,while driving a 1925 Volkswagen, with useless Panday, imported spare parts , and crooked mechanics,primarily from the Bamboo,which if memory serves me correct , is quite close to your old neighborhood.
    Just kidding-maybe.
    We wish our country well, yes?

    • Aye Neal you at it again. “The first locally organised and funded election since the official end in 2003 of years of war that killed 5.4 million people was meant to offer hope of greater stability.” That is the great African nation of the Congo where murder rules the day and rapes average around 20,000 per year. That is the nature of the African, a gene which you possess and which continues to threaten the stability of T&T with Roget now wanting to behave as though he is badder than Robo. Democracy is not perfect system of governance for everyone, only for those who understand that country MUST come first before tribalist tendencies.

      But back to the Congo, a nation that has virtually been ignored by the West. India sent in peace keepers and was able to bring a level of civility; now that they are no longer there, all hell is breaking loose. Why I mention the Congo? They just concluded elections and the blood letting have started.

      The ultimate aim of tribalist such as Rowley, Roget, Robo all Ravans in the grand scheme of things is to bring T&T to it’s knees and turn it into an African paradise, where rape and murder rule the day. Manning tried and was up to over 500 plus murders, now Dr Rowley is secretly planning his move with Roget and Robo. Can T&T escape a future of murder rape and unbridled evil??? That is the 64 million dollar question my friend as the gangs of gloom get ready to grab power from the PP. And the big fish blogger cast their net on the illiterates of this nation. Hmmm, time will certainly tell.

  • “The first locally organised and funded election? Is this guy back to drinking his simi poisonous, aranguez babash, and blogging again?
    Hey buddy, Egypt had election , while thousands are dying daily ,so what’s new? Russia just had elections, that would see a KGB bandit hold power for another 12 years , so what else is new?
    Fake Democratic India, had 5000 election since independence, and would get another 5000 in the next 50 years, and only Hindus would run that country,so what’s new?
    Cuz Mamboo, I told you once , twice , and close to a million times , to leave socio – political issues,of International Significance, as such is my forte. If you are in need of edification , just ask my friend.
    Keep your focus instead on de bush rum politricks , of your party, and clueless leaders, that is destined to make our country , and people ,the laughing stock of the entire planet. Dis is obviously way over your head, after only you were only able to finish Standard 1 in de Princess Town Primary school- poor fella,is not his fault, but his always drunk , careless papa!
    Here is your next assignment before we can engage deeply ,on places such as Congo. Go read up anything you can about the Cold War ,it’s implications for states in the Global South, as played out by white competing ,barbarians , from America, and cousins across the USSR.Try and appreciate , the implication for the global community , at the end of the 40 year proxy war mayhem , for places like Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Middle East, Latin America, and dem closet dictators that saturate your Asia.
    Then do a google check and read up about a concept called resource wars. Why where the two upstart South Asian nations ,able to acquire nuclear technology- even if they cannot feed their own ,starving, desperate citizens, and each time , a river overflow , or a lil earth tremor takes place , they both have to run , cap in hand begging papa Europe, and dada America , as well as the rest of the global community, for aid.
    Why is it Uncle Barrack , bnend over backwards, to take care of Libya, and not Syrians, and why was Sudan encouraged to divide, but Israel/ Palestinians won’t see changes?THese would all become clear to you.
    For the record , the only help Afrikans in Congo want – or any where on the continent, that those immoral South Asian sexual, predatory bandits, had their Peace keepers-would be for them to financially own up, and take care of the numerous , bastard kids , they made after raping under aged kids, and , impregnated prostitutes-atrocious actions of which ,contributed to tarnishing the fine names/ image of the entire United Nations , one might add.
    Hey mamboo, this is not here say evidence , as favored by Commissioner Gibbs, and Field Marshall Sandy re alleged domestic crimes,but straight from the horses mouth.
    I have been in the trenches, and did not have to depend on CNN, BBC , de Punjabi Chronicle ,Urdu Times,Toronto Sun, or Hindu Times, for my info.
    Yeah I know , all this is a lie , as it’s only Afrikan males that possess this insatiable desire, to roam like uncontrollable ,laschievious , Tom Cats in heat, into the souls dem female gender of other races. It ain’t you and your more culturally sound cousins.
    This explains why our rapidly rising , swing vote, Dougla population, is on an upswing ,remain’s a force in T&T/ neighboring Guyana- but, once more , I know, it’s all because of the activities of savage Afrikans males , ennnt?
    Luv Humanity!

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