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Vacuous rhetoric on crime-fighting

Vacuous rhetoric on crime-fighting

Crime events last week marked ever lower points in the graph of severity. The beheading of Edward Koury, kidnapped on the same day Justin Raymond-Guillen was released by his abductors, confirmed a tightening of the crime stranglehold.

A downward trend that the population sees with its own eyes cannot be denied or wished away by any kind of analysis or any measure of soothing or rallying rhetoric by ruling politicians.

In words so tiresomely familiar and so unmatched by effective action as to elicit a collective yawn, Prime Minister Manning said in his Republic Day address: "We will continue to devote additional resources and pursue every legitimate option available to the State to subdue the criminal element, leaving no stone unturned in this battle."

While the police were reported still searching for Dr Koury, Avinash Rattan was kidnapped by two men wearing look-alike police uniforms, and a $3 million ransom demanded.

Mr Rattan is the son of a Cunupia businessman.

Dr Koury's references included close family ties to Health Minister John Rahael, and prominent business and state connections, including board membership of Petrotrin.

Other blood-stained reports kept appearing. Ryan King was shot dead in Arima days after his brother, Luther had also been gunned down there.

Hakim "Barber" Glasgow was shot dead by killers cruising in a car on Beverly Hills, Laventille. Under a mango tree on Bournes Road, St James, three assassins fired fatal bullets into Dirk Simon.

Competing for attention with killings and kidnaps victimising people at differing socio-economic levels, the threatened abduction of former minister Daphne Phillips reaches new heights of sinister bizarreness.

Dr Phillips called a news conference on Friday to announce that warning of a kidnap plot against her and family members had come from Attorney General John Jeremie and Brigadier Peter Joseph, head of the Special Anti-crime Unit.

She reported that acting Police Commissioner Glen Roach, whom she had two days later called seeking protection, said he knew nothing of the danger to which Mr Jeremie and Brig Joseph had alerted her.

While disturbing to everyone, this episode is capable of terrorising Dr Phillips and anyone in similar circumstances. The intelligence that she was targeted apparently came out of the investigation into an actual kidnapping a stone's throw from where she lives.

The acting Police Commissioner, kept off the need-to-know list, promised to send someone to investigate. Contrary to Dr Phillips' expectations, as of Friday the National Security Ministry had not communicated with her.

In warning Dr Phillips about the threat, Mr Jeremie probably saw himself doing a humane and responsible thing.

Confirming that the AG had spoken with Dr Phillips, a spokesman for his office added damage-controlling remarks to the effect that, "There was no direct threat to Mrs Phillips."

Yet whatever Mr Jeremie had said to Dr Phillips was regarded by her as so threatening that she called the police.

It is discomforting to realise that the Attorney General could be in possession of information arising from a criminal investigation that was known to Brig Joseph, head of SAUTT, but not to the acting Police Commissioner.

Such hamfisted handling of a sensitive security matter undermines confidence in the discretion, competence and good sense of senior officials from the Attorney General on down and renders vacuous all the official crime-fighting rhetoric.

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Trinidad and Tobago News

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