Drastic measures our only option

By Raffique Shah
Sunday, June 28th 2009

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

ArrestedI SENSED the seething rage that simmered behind the genteel persona of Fr Clyde Harvey as he delivered the homily at Tecia Henry’s funeral service last Thursday. Fr Harvey is a priest whose faith and training undoubtedly combine to make him a man of peace. Yet, there he was, for the hundredth time, maybe more, presiding over the last rites for yet another crime victim who had barely known life before it was brutally snatched from her. I don’t know how he and other clerics cope with the tidal-wave of grief and floods of tears that engulf them as the nation drifts into a state of war.

I am a soldier by training, schooled in the art of war, of fighting fire with deadlier firepower. Still, from a very early age I learned to value human life more than anything else, hence my humanist beliefs. But I, too, am seething with rage. I’m angry that the wife of a soldier could drive into the supposed sanctuary of a police station in a bid to save herself and her friend from a fate worse than death, only to fall victim to a bullet fired by a brazen criminal who felt sure he could escape the clutches of the law. I am angrier that the two murders referred to above are but a mere sliver of the spate of crimes that law-abiding citizens have to face on a daily basis.

We have reached the state where there are no fewer than 1,000 criminal acts, many of them violent and all of them traumatic for the victims, take place on a daily basis. I don’t care what statistics to the contrary the police may brandish to suggest otherwise. They know that maybe 80 per cent of the “petty” crimes committed go unreported. People no longer report robberies-being clouted (if they are lucky) and relieved of their wallets, cellphones and other valuables. Burglaries, rapes, threats of violence, minor attacks do not show up on the police radar.

Why? Because by reporting anything less than murder or serious injury can lead to the complainant being deemed a nuisance. Numerous are the stories of victims who are made to feel like criminals when they make reports to police stations. Victims are abused in stations, especially if the alleged perpetrators are themselves policemen or they have connections with cops. This is not a blanket condemnation of the men and women who are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the country. There are many conscientious, very helpful police officers out there. Sadly, they are outnumbered by delinquents who have no right to wear police uniforms.

Desperate times call for drastic measures. But the Prime Minister and his Government do not believe we are in a state of war-war declared against civil society by heartless, barbaric men and women. As F. Harvey asked, how can any human being strangle a ten-year-old child to death? Only a beast in human form, a modern-day Mano Benjamin, is capable of such a dastardly crime. In these dire circumstances, would the Government merely continue throwing money behind the problem? Hundreds of millions of dollars have been expended behind equipment like the sky-ship, the 360-degree radar, hefty consultancy fees to so-called experts for advice. To what end? The crime spree intensifies, and worse, there is no respite on the horizon.

It is true that in order to “fix crime” we have to fix ourselves first. All criminals must have mothers (well, they didn’t drop from trees!), maybe fathers (doubtful at times), families, friends. These people would more than likely know what their children are up to. I shall not repeat what I’ve written on so many occasions: if law-abiding citizens do not buy the loot robbers offer at basement prices, they would have no market for their blood-stained gains, hence less reasons to continue with their criminal acts.

But criminals are bred beyond these boundaries. Last Sunday Mr Manning made oblique reference to what might have been behind Tecia’s murder. He failed to mention that much of the gang warfare that is being waged with deadly consequences for entire communities has its genesis in government’s make-work programmes. He refuses to admit that known criminals are hired as bosses in these programmes, and that they use this influence and lucrative contract dollars to enhance their death-dealing arsenals. He refuses to call halt to these criminal “factories” that thrive on taxpayers’ dollars.

And before Basdeo Panday jumps in to say, “I told you so!” let me remind him that these very programmes also thrived under his watch. In fact, not only did his government cuddle criminals, but it embraced gangsters as candidates and activists. So we, the citizenry, are trapped between the bad, the “badder”, and the very ugly. How do we extricate ourselves from this unholy mess? How do we “reclaim” our country, as so many civic organisations exhort us to do?

As a cleric, Fr Harvey called on the nation’s mothers to act. As a trained soldier, I have other ideas. They are not palatable. But they may well be the only options we have to restore humanity where bestiality reigns supreme.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog – URL for this article:

17 thoughts on “Drastic measures our only option”

  1. I think that Drastic measures should have been taken a long time ago.Its not too late. One thing I must say. I hope the Public support these new measures, and dont whine, The public have a way of always condemning the Police when they use the extra force that is necessary. They have a way of always crying out Police brutality. The Public have to make up their minds, it either they support the Police or the Criminals.
    Let the police do their work. Its time we put a dent in Crime,its totally out of control.

  2. I agree that drastic measures need to be taken, I would endorse your solution 100% brother. Being a laventillian i can assure you it might not be as successful as you may hope. The wickedness in this land is in high and low places and the outcme 80% of the time for good samaritans like me and you is death. I lost some very close friends in this senseless war.The muslim\christian\rasta war is the underlying problem and the decitfulness of the community.You already know the community leaders is who need to be dealt with.

  3. Among those drastic measure, I hope, would be jobs and job training for idle young men who sit around alll day with nothing to do. Notice how “revolution” is popular in places with endemic poverty, like Pakistan, Afghanistan,some African countries, norther n India and South America? poverty fuels rage.
    Th state needs to provide jobs so that I can drive my BMW through town, unmolested.

  4. ‘Drastic Measures’ is this a slogan or gimmick? There is no doubt that when law enforcement gets serious criminals lay low and wait for the short respite to pass. When police patrol, show force, exhibit a strong presence, show commitment, exercise authority and enforce the law criminals scatter. You see this on occasions of Carnival and special cases when their presence is needed. So, why cant we have that on an everyday basis? This is the only question the powers that be MUST answer. Yes, there are many causes that create the criminal mind and government have the resources but I’m not too sure they have the will. In order to have the will they must be willing to address the problems that lead innocent minds to the luxury of crime. Government must have the strength not to be sidetracked by people whose interests are singular. Look at the criminals, see where they come from and identify the commonality of what drives them in the direction of crime and I’m sure the answer will NOT be too difficult. There are activists such as SM and DM who may want to question why government is putting money in such a direction and none going to them (which is very selfish) but government need to have minds of steel in such corrective efforts. The answer is strict law enforcement and corrective programs to divert the minds of young people from criminal activity.

  5. Any talk about drastic measures without including the political system in reference to crime reduction is foolish talk. The government simply cannot shoot its way out of the crime problem. This country have laws that even the government has to follow.

  6. Yes bring back a modern Randy Borroughs and his equivalent Flying Squad brigade as the ultimate solution . Don’t forget to give him specific directives to head up to John , John ,Caranege , Never Dirty , Toco ,and Febeau Lavantille to flush out all the kinky heads miscreants, but place his convenient calls to high price Central drinking pals, half an hour before he makes a raid in that region, and conveniently walk out with a local trouble maker, so as to deceive the media and wider public .
    Listen guys , this is not how it works in the real world. It only lunatics would think that you can have 8 ,000 or less active police to deal with a population of over 1.3 million – and growing.
    It is only someone that is not using much of the God’s given gray matter who believes that individual with 10 O’ Levels and 5 A’Levels will enter the Police service only due national job scarcity ,and will stick around until pensionable age , after daily exposure to humiliations , and degradation by disingenuous manipulative leaders , and lawless citizens of every class .
    Since many are naively unaware, I’ll inform them that policing is only a miniscule portion of the equation with respect to law enforcement. You’ve got to focus on improving the integrity and professionalism in our Judiciary likewise.
    The folks that serve in the DPP Office , both branches of our Courts , and numerous lawyers in private practice , are clearly some of the most callous , unscrupulous legal minds in the entire Caribbean – many of which dominate the house of Parliament and so are motivated to protect this unsavory bunch.
    Today for example ,I am a high price Human Rights lawyer, tomorrow , I am a loud talking ,Back Bencher , that maintains the global Justice charade, but next week I am an Attorney General ,and wants to selectively hang from “Captain to Cook., while pushing draconian legislation , and pandering to every Tom , Dick and Bridglal – that cares, or pretend to have an interest in true justice.”
    Are you serious about crime domestically and regionally, then commence discussions about regional integration and stop making Trinidad and Tobago look like the biggest idiots in the world .
    How is that you may enquire? Well, only idiots would push to create a prestigious Caribbean Court of Appeal and have it Headquarters in your capital, then pay respected legal luminaries minds and staffs millions of dollars per year to serve , yet would not formally join and lend support , while still running like stupid kids to Mother England to have a bunch of senile , anachronistic, condescending and uncaring Law Lords adjudicate your final Appeal Courts at exorbitant cost. For what reasons, you may enquire again? Foolish , Paltry , short term gains would be my response.
    Yes again , blame the hard working ,yet overwhelmed men and women in blue , every time some embarrassing incident occurs in the country likethe West End / John John debacles , since it conveniently allows you to ignore the discussions of political gridlock and narrow minded ,selfish ,distracting shenanigans, that are seriously preventing our country from assuming a position of real leadership in the region.
    Unfortunately for these -unmentionable – obsessed destabilization agents, and country haters , the people that matters most are hip to these and other imbecilic games, and come election time will have a thing or two to say.
    “If better cannot be done , let the worst continue, ”as wise Granny would say .
    It’s defeatist many would correctly indicate , but works for her and others just well.

  7. Sorry Neal, Trinidad and Tobago does not need another police chief who is brother in law to a major criminal drug dealer, living in a fortress in Piparo.We do not need the police chief who according to one drug dealer who was inviting my brother in law, a police officer, to join him in growing marijuana in the Tunapuna Hills, was the supplier of the seeds.
    We do not need a police chief who delayed moving out of the residence at the police barracks, claiming he had no where to go, while owning three residential properties in Miami.
    We do not need a police chief who bullies his underlings, tries to crucify small criminals, and gives the “big boys” a free pass.

    What we need is a professional police chief, who will arrest his mother or brother if they committed a crime.We need a police chief who will inspire respect and loyalty in his men, not fear.

    One Burroughs in our coutry’s history is enough.We also need jobs for young men and women so that becoming a “gun woman” would not appel to a thirteen year old.
    We needfearless and well trained magistrates, and lawyers who will not let the county go to pot, for a pot of money.WE need citizens who realize that each has his/her own small part to play in reducing crime.We need true citizens of TnT. Are there any?

  8. You won’t hear any dissenting arguments from me on any of your well informed and articulated points – particularly your suggested solutions Ms. L.
    As to your last question, I would want to think that there are, and if not, we do have the means to save succeeding generations from continuing along similar destructive parts.
    Of course ,some became timid due to subtle intimidation; others are giving up due unfortunate feelings of inability to out shout and outlast the more influential rogue detractors.
    Call me a naïve and sentimental optimist , but I still have faith in our people.

  9. I believe that there are concerned citiens, else I would retire from writing here since it does not put a penny in my pocket. I write to help.

  10. If the head of our police force and head of our intelligence are in bed what therefore we expect from the Security & Intel services to contribute? Trinidad needs a moratorium from its international agreements and treaties yet a strict judicial oversight similar to France’s anti-terror justice Intel/Police special court dedicated to tracking and apprehending crime and criminals be they active our post crime. France has had far greater success than Britain and the US in reigning in these pestilence. They took the best from the police military social and prosecutors divisions and set up a dreaded though constitutional body that have placed France on the safest regions in Europe.

  11. Expat , please don’t get it twisted are you trying to convince us the foolish , backward, and naive locals in sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country that France , Italy ,England ,Spain and these numerous sleeping and politically lost European EU nations are secured domestically ,and internationally primarily due to their own initiatives- or even secured at all?
    To think that we felt that it was because predominantly white dominant Yankee political powerbrokers felt the need to tax their own citizens to the hilt ,to help subsidize not only the security of Europe , but their health care service, education , and similar class oriented and racially tinged superior social lifestyle into perpetuity . Fortunately for the USA with all it’s dysfunctions ,immigrants are still coming in droves and buying in to the notion that they too can succeed, as this more than anything else has enabled the country to still hold it’s head high as a global giant, and not necessarily due to the sole efforts of the Plymouth Rock European Mayflower ancestors ,as the deceptive media and lost political figures would still like you to believe.
    Let’s see, Italy is run by a billionaire buffoon, and the Mafia has a strangle hold on that country since the latter Middle Ages, so security as described by Expat is a joke . The comical , frivolous French when the respective leaders can keep their pants on , or their wives close , as well as the British led by Brown the clownish bulldog ,are so inept at security , and has so much homegrown terrorist roaming about in their country that it is no longer funny.
    Why you might enquire on something that even a brain dead analyst can figure out? They have developed convenient amnesia as to the evils they have committed , and or perpetuated across the globe through the centuries due to numerous backward exploitative colonial policies, and today have generally lack the foresight to mask their racist ,elitist mindset as they waddle into a catch 22 situation.
    It is as follows :- Pretend to be a more inclusive , post racial society than their Yanks cousins ever can , but simultaneously treat anyone that is not of pure European stock like 5th class citizens , and remain surprise at the outcome . The results, domestic turmoil, led by new age frustrated youth that are daily threatening to destroy the stupid façade as we speak ,while the respective security authorities dance around and accept the US distorted security play book recommendations which subtly and directly claims that every social security malady that takes place on the planet , including Europe is linked to Al Qaeda global terrorist networks led by a fringe lunatic Yemen / Saudi Muslim thug still living in a bat cave on the mountains of Afghanistan, strapped to a dialysis machine with his 100 million distributed in banks across Europe and North America.
    Here are some prime historical examples. There is the Sri Lanka problem, Seria Leone, Liberia, Sudan ,Iraq, Iran, Israel , Palestine, Lebanon , Congo , Afghanistan, India , Pakistan, and Sadams’s Kuwait debacle? Let’s blame the Yanks for every thing that goes wrong in the world claim Europeans , and our naïve citizens will follow. That’s their problem. Turkey citizens are doing everything possible short of all converting to Christianity from predominantly Islamic faith , but Europe still waits on King Obama and his Cabinet to decide their political and economic fate instead of leading .
    Wait a minute , uncontrollable race riots in France a few months ago. “Ahhh , let them eat cake again!.” Subway Bombing in England and numerous hidden plots that forced MI5 to shoot an innocent yellow skin Brazilian since he looked like an Arab . Spain , what happen to the Basque Separatist now that the racist with African blood running through their veins are claming to be democratic ? Ireland , like Spain- now that the US led economic bubble is over- let’s see how they can control those out of work IRA and Protestant tugs that held them hostage for years. Sorry Romanians , you are not white enough, too much Arab tainted blood they claim . http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=85183&start=100
    Leave it alone Expat, as this is way above your pay grade ,or level of understanding. Your name might have change , but the common thread in thinking is an obvious give away- same karki pants my friend. All this pontification about meritorious Europe, followed by denunciation of your country that is barely 47 years ,and is simply trying to lift itself up socially, economically ,and politically while trying to grapple with some of the most unpatriotic , country hating citizens like your self is incredible and too much for even me a humble , ever tolerant soul ,global humanist .
    No other country in the world faces such a huge challenge as Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country. You do your thing home boy and follow the lead of unmentionable ,self loathing others, that clamor for global accolades ,and would denounce the region and their country in particular at every opportunity .
    Since such is not foolish , and counterproductive in short as well as long term, I’ll suggest an alternative and more holistic ,and positive partway. Love self , love country , join up with progressives to move beyond talk by trying to make a difference in the land of your birth my friend. At some point when you become old and useless , you will be discarded as just another insignificant immigrant , and then wish that you had invested your life , skills , and if wise money differently . I stand corrected.
    Warm Regards.

  12. Listen Mr. Tman, don’t be an idiot. The strength of Great Britain is that it sends its citizens everywhere to live, who continue to be loyal to Britain, who raise British children abroad, no matter how long they live where. My family lives on four continents. It has, I hope given us a broader perspective on mnany issues, and allowed our women to escape the stultifying relationships offered by male idiots some of them had masquerading as husbands.
    There is no offense in living in a place where the water is always on tap, the police fire and ambulance respond within seven minutes, the garbage is collected regularly, your neighbors lawns are as well manicured as your own, and when the community calls for volunteers for an emergency, whether it be stacking sandbags as the river rises, or searching for a missing child, the community pours out of houses like an ants nest roused.

    No harm too, in being able to buy a weeks groceries for twenty dollars.

    Hardship was never a requirment for philosophical thought, except for St. Francis of Assissi. Before re-migrating here, i had re-migrated to TnT where the little minds I had to encounter daily became too much. Grow up, TMAn, spend some of your cash travelling, and realize that its only in TnT that a prosperous country cannot clear the garbage from the hospital. That only in Tnt the hospital cannot stop the visitors from stealing the toilet paper.
    When I migrated here, I used to always walk around with toilet paper in my handbag. The only restroom where paper is almost certain to be available is in theTnT airport, both coming and going.

    Two years ago, I wanted an American friend to experience riding our bus system. To use the bathroom in the PTST terminal in POS, we paid a dollar and were given a few pulls off of a roll of toilet paper.Thank God neither one of us had diarrhoe As long as TnT people continue to behave like they do, push you out of line and jump in the taxi, leaving your friend behind, so I got back off, people like me would live elsewhere and visit.

    I like the simple assurance of getting in to the shower, shampooing my hair and getting out before the water runs out.I like getting what I pay for, no short measure here, and the return policies are like magic.

    Some people feel that they have earned a few of the niceties of life, like polite doctors for example. Those family who are till there in TnT, support the public service system as we have done for two hundred years-they are doctors, nurses, police officers and such. Those living here are also upholders of the public service. When you have earned the hundreds of years of selfless giing that is the legacy of this woman, opwen your mouth gain, OK. I forgive your mean-spirited coment and hope I have ducated you a bit.

  13. Now take that in your pipe and smoke it T-Man . It was often claimed by my wise Granny that “ Monkey know which tree to climb, ” or as our affectionate Yardee friend Demarco would equally say in song- “Duppy Know Ah Who Fi Frighten.” So, “Take way you self buoy!”
    1000 Weeks in the land of the Maple Leaf , on an extended student / refugee Visa, and you think that you can match wits with an authentic patriot , and international solidarity sister soldier and superstar about pertinent issues of the day that affect us all, in the global village ,and Sweet , Sweet, T&T aka Rainbow Country in particular. Are you kidding me , T- Man.
    I feel your pain my friend. Did not know that Ms. L could play cricket as well , ehhhh? When you throw up a lazy floating full toss to an inform batsman / woman , you are going over the stand in the Queens Spark Oval , or Aranguez Savannah.
    Someone should have warned him – the sly provocative one. We know that in reality , you could not care if all Trinis sink into our famous Labrea Pitch Lake and disappear forever , perch in your supposedly lofty enclave in Halifax Canada. You of cost have inculcated well, and held on to one of the few unfortunate latent Trini qualities whereby you clould not care , “if Good Friday Falls on a Monday.”
    We are still happy that you are prepared to serve as useful conduit to help facilitate the making of the point.
    Welcome to the Black Socratic/ Plutonic Movement in song. Sing!


  14. There really is no need to resort to name-calling. Your responses exude arrogance, a quality embraced by most of our political and civic leaders and which is responsible for the many deadlocks which hinder progress in T&T.
    Linda’s tirade regarding the inconveniences and “third world” conditions in T&T are examples of this lack of progress.Her seeming angry outburst is symbolic of the vitriolic partisan politics practised in the T&T parliament.
    This national characteristic – Arrogance, coupled with the “know it all” attitudes of people in positions of power is having a detrimental effect on the nation.

  15. How many more good people have to be slaughtered before we come to our senses? While most of the comments reflect hopelessness, frustration, and the search for answers, Neal’s comment appears as sarcasm when one considers the seriousness of the topic.

  16. No Martin, Sarcasm ? You got to be kidding. I can hardly spell the word , nor even appreciate it’s clear meaning , even if you threatened to chop me in the head with a cutlass used by one of our numerous hard working farmers that till the soils ,on the vast lusty plantation estates of Lavantille, John John , Never Dirty , Upper Gonzales Belmont , Carenage, Mt Hope ,and Bagatelle Rd Diego Martin to feed us across this grateful nation.
    Listen buddy , I know that you and your numerous socially comatose friends suddenly awoke in recognition of the pressing substandard security realities that prevails in this country , and it’s direct links to anachronistic economic and political policies as played out by too many stupid politicians, and greedy , conniving business elites.
    I however my friend have been closely monitoring , analyzing, and grappling to find solutions to our pressing maladies while you were yearly trying to fit into your skimpy Peter Mitchell outfits to jump up and drink Caribs Beers yearly come February or March around the Savannah and Arapita Avenue.
    Have you even taken the time to get out of drunken stupor and read any of my numerous post on this board on the subjectyou pretend to care about? Read Uncle Shah’s lucid commentary today and place mine from the past along with most others , and see whose is closely supportive of his views that call for a new political paradigm and destruction of the old schooled Trini as usual playbook , that has us stuck in this backward and unfortunate quagmire that we so justifiably find very reprehensible.

    So you think that old talk about hopelessness, frustration, and desperate search for answers, would stop twenty or more young Police Officers from frequently trying to escape the Service for a better life abroad ,like our numerous other perturb yet fortunate citizens , eh?
    You can continue take pot shots at yours truly, while you drive across Sweet, T&T aka Rainbow country daily in your tinted windowed 2009 Million dollar Lexus , and frolic with your numerous Nuvo Rich pals along the Westmooring waters on your expensive Penny/ Bowen Yachts, while praying for a miracle from some of ET’s cousins from Saturn.
    What folly! This clown thinks that he cares more about this country than me , simply due to the fact that I decide to follow Granny’s advice in writing, by attempting “to play dead to catch Cobeaux alive.”
    My advice to you Martin is to leave grown folks business alone, and only return when you become really serious to mentally get out of your secured enclaves and engage in discourse with the final end game of uplifting your fellow citizens -and by extension -your self and nation.
    Right now with your senseless assertions, you are simply trying to put comedians Sprangalang, Tommy Joseph, Fabian , and John Agitation -if he is still alive -out of business.

Comments are closed.