Thursday, October 22, 2015

CRIME, THE POLICE & TRINIDAD & TOBAGO





Okay.Full disclosure: my first cousin, who I loved like a brother, was brutally murdered almost nineteen years ago. The 'hit man' was a policeman. His murder remains officially unsolved although everybody knows who did it.


I say this because it's true and because I want to talk about crime in our little twin island Republic. Although I haven't seen him or spoken with him for more than a decade I counted Richard Wheeler as a friend whom I knew personally as well as professionally. But this post is not about the Wheelers or anybody else who has been the cruel victim of brutal and unsolved crimes. This post is about why those crimes are not being solved.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, has his hero say to his sidekick, Dr. Watson in the story The Sign of Four
 "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever   remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
So, why aren't the T&T Police solving more crimes? I can think of two reasons: the first is that they are totally and utterly incompetent.
The second is that they don't want to solve the crimes.


If there is anybody who can give me any other reasons I would be pleased to hear them. But I have heard the arguments "oh, we don't have the tools or the necessary resources." That argument falls into my first reason.  But it is the second reason that frightens me. Because, I am personally satisfied that it is a deadly combination of the two reasons that has created the crime problem that we have today and personal experience as well as a reasonable knowledge of how things work suggest strongly to me that the Police really do not want to solve the crime problem. As to why they wouldn't want to solve it, I can think of a number of reasons which are not completely relevant to this discussion.


Let's take a look at some facts: (a) The detection rate for murders hovers around the ten percent mark. The conviction rate for murders hovers around the three percent mark. In other words, your chances of literally getting away with murder in this country are statistically excellent. Why? The only murders really being solved are of the domestic 'husband killing wife' type.
(b) There has been a serious spike in the murder rate since the September 7th general elections. Why? There has to be a reason. What is it?
(b) Only one of the recent brutal attacks/murders against elderly white foreigners in Tobago has been 'solved'. Why? There has to be a reason. What is it?
(c) All of the highly publicized brutal attacks/murders in Tobago that have not been solved have been against white foreigners. Is there a sinister pattern here? Is race rearing its ugly head  and that is why the murders/attacks have not been solved/? Or is there something else? Or is it a combination of factors including race? What?
(e) Nobody in the mainstream media is asking the hard questions of the Police. Why? Does the mainstream media know something that we don't? If so, what? And if they don't know why are they not asking the questions?


I read somewhere once that every suggestion of change always means death to some status quo. Now, there are countless 'status quos' in this country and everybody defends his or her own little piece of the pie. But things here will not change until we as a society begin to demand (and receive) answers to the hard questions that confront us. The scoring of political points in the Parliament is all well and good and certainly sells newspapers, but I for one would be much more impressed if a politician would stand up and tell us exactly what he or she was going to do to fix a particular problem.


And for the record, if you don't want to tell us how you are going to fix the Police because of 'national security' reasons, that's all right. But then give us real and tangible bench marks to which we can hold you to so that we can see whether or not you really are serious about fixing the problem (whatever that 'problem' might be).








P.S. I had promised in my last post to put forward my own ideas of how to fix the education system. I will do so soon, but events have rather overtaken and I considered this more important for the moment.

2 comments:

  1. Robin..you frame some serious questions very well and jusify your queries with reference to some disturbing trends. I do hope these are actively addressed in debate. T and T is a beautiful country touched with greatness and these questions merit answers.

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  2. I, however, am not hopeful on any level. Firstly, the media are pathetic at best. Their ability to ask hard questions or do any investigative journalism is questionable.

    I am not sure about anything I read in the newspapers. This week one headline was police raid a police station. Excuse me. Is it the position that a member of the service did something wrong?? Or is it the entire station did something wrong?? I would believe that if it was an individual that did something wrong the individual would be taken into custody, but to raid the police station?? To me that signifies that not even the police believe the police.

    Al

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