Several issues over the past several weeks bring into focus the state of the justice system in this country. Citizens have been exposed to police inaction on complaints against the Minister of Finance who it is alleged illegally spent over $4.5B from the treasury.
Not to appear inconsistent, the police high command halts investigations into reports by the Mayor of Georgetown of damage to property allegedly committed by a known character. The police are unable to institute charges arising from findings of investigations into allegations of abuse committed against juveniles incarcerated at the New Opportunity Corps.
What lessons are to be learned from these few incidents is anyone’s guess. The fact that His Worship the Mayor of the City of Georgetown finds it alarming enough to go on the picket line outside of the High Courts is not an occurrence to be taken lightly.
Regardless of how his politics are viewed, the blatant shenanigans emanating from the precincts of City Hall are outrageous and would drive citizens to say “enough is enough and a plague on both your houses.”
But it doesn’t end there; the police, it is claimed are made aware that a murder suspect was seen in the frequent company of a shady character who acts as bodyguard to a city official prior to the commission of a murder and robbery. Yet we do not hear anyone making the type of association about criminal connections in this instance which says a lot about convenient name calling.
Now to hear that the Attorney-General may be examining ways to find if the Mayor can be sanctioned for his public position on the state of the judiciary, ranks right up there with the rest of mediocre statements from on high.
First of all, when persons cast aspersions on the integrity of the police with allegations of corruption, we do not hear of any legal avenue being sought to sanction the people making those observations. In Trinidad and Tobago, the private sector is demanding that there must be a cabinet reshuffle.
Maybe if the local body was more vibrant and alive to its role and potential as a game changer it might have made a similar call years ago. As it is the members of the private sector are too engrossed with their own chances of individual survival that to even contemplate such an idea is suicidal.
That thought notwithstanding, there is nothing which effectively prevents the private sector and members of civil society from articulating a demand for professional police investigations to be allowed to run their course and let the chips fall where they may.
The murky circumstances surrounding the shooting of policeman Leroy English by a fellow member of the force raise the spectre of out-of-control operatives who are not guided by formally established rules of engagement. The zeal with which the Office of Professional Responsibility attempted to interview a popular newspaper columnist should be replicated across the entire force and must not be employed as a harassment technique.
The experience of the young man who claims that he was being followed by a car without police markings and therefore took the necessary evasive maneuvers brings starkly to memory the shooting to death of designer Trevor Rose earlier in the year. So far, no one can say without a shadow of doubt that the fate intended for the young businessman at the centre of that incident would not have been a repeat of that suffered by Rose.
The public must be told what behavior is expected of them when a vehicle purporting to be an unmarked police vehicle attempts to stop them. It has also been observed that ranks in uniform manning roadblocks are routinely without their name and regulation number tags.
Recall the recent robbery of an outgoing couple along the East Bank highway by ‘bandits’ in police uniform. In light of the unresolved issue of bandits posing as policemen, and the likelihood of policemen posing as bandits disguised as policemen there is all the more need to inform the public of this potential menace, and what to do in these circumstances. The authorities can do much more to ensure that the public safety and security system does not continue to fail us.
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For those who claim that they are nationalist, are for workers’ rights, a multi-racial Guyana, against one–party domination,... more
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