Better Law Enforcement Needed
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010
THE EDITOR: A fair and just society is all we the citizens ask of any government elected to manage the affairs of this wonderful twin island nation. Just as politicians swear to uphold the law of the land, so too must every man, woman, child and institution.
Politicians are hired to ensure that the wheels of the institutions are well-oiled and moving smoothly to the benefit of all citizens. Abuse of power and position should have no place in a society as enlightened as Trinidad and Tobago. Today, we find ourselves plagued by crime of every imaginable kind. We need solutions, so that citizens can feel safe and comfortable as they go about their business of making their contribution towards building a nation, while enjoying the fruits of their labour.
The institution of the protective services is to offer some sort of guarantee of safety and comfort to the citizenry. This is achieved by proper policing of the society. Proper procedures must be applied at all times, and chief amongst the lot are the common courtesies, as in good manners. Officers must be made to extend the common courtesies to citizens as they carry out their duties of solving crime.
The unnecessary display of hostility and beating of citizens form no part of their mandate under the Republican constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. Diligent investigation, crime detection, prosecution and conviction of criminals, are what taxpayers are expecting from those who are there to protect and serve. Today, because of the runaway crime situation in our country, we are forced to guard, zealously, the freedom we cherish so dearly, from both the criminals and persons placed in authority to guard those freedoms.
Some of the protectors are abusing their power and position by infringing on the rights of citizens under the guise of fighting crime. The beating of citizens is not a right bestowed automatically when one joins the protective services. This kind of disrespectful behaviour only creates tension in the communities, and in cases where costly litigation is not an option, retaliation will be the reaction. Once the people are aggrieved, and justice is being denied, they will revolt.
The renegades in the law enforcement agencies must not be allowed to take this beautiful country down that road of mayhem and anarchy. I am quite certain that the People's Partnership Government never did advocate on their platform, and would never condone persons hired to uphold the laws of the land, arbitrarily dispensing justice on citizens who may in some way or other bruise their fragile egos with some derogatory remarks.
If picong and fatigue is outlawed in this land, a lot of people remain quite unaware, still believing that our ability to label the character, once you act the part, is like second nature to a Trini. Nobody is afraid or wants to be afraid of members of the protective services of our country. Are we hiring them from amongst us, because we see the need to protect us from our selves? We are basically a peaceful and fun-loving people who would like to co-operate with the protective services in maintaining that peace.
So, I am appealing to the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security, the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Justice to curb the reckless behaviour of some delinquent members of the law enforcement agencies, who are hell-bent on bringing the law into disrepute and adding a further threat to the security of the nation. They are hired to protect and serve, and must be made to understand that all citizens have rights which must not be violated. Only the courts are authorized to dispense justice. They are supposed to uphold the law, not break them.
Whenever they step out of the boundaries of the law they must be made to pay compensation where it is due, from their own estate, and not that of the public purse. Only then will they understand that no one is above the law. We must also be very guarded with the kind of authority we propose to extend to security guards in our zeal to get a grip on the high crime rate plaguing our beautiful country, lest we worsen an already bad situation.
Remember, a little power can be a very dangerous weapon in the hands of the ignorant. And most of those retired officers, who want to return to the service, should be left right where they are because they are the ones mainly responsible for the existing crisis. Any attempt at crime reduction in this country must start with a total overhaul of the protective services.
For a better TnT
Michael L Joseph
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