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Showing us what police could do

Thursday, November 20, 2014

No amount of commendation is too much for the team of police officers who put up a determined and valiant effort to rescue two of the victims of the Paria family rescue mission in the Brasso Seco forest on Friday.

It has served by extension to be a morale-booster for the sagging image of the T&T Police Service, which has been receiving unflattering attention for quite some years now. I feel quite certain we can all sing, contrary what the popular reggae tune message gave some years ago, we know what police could do.

Teenage sisters Jenelle and Felicia Gonzales, were freed after being held captives, together with their mother Irma, Janelle’s infant daughter Shania, and Felix Martinez and abducted from their home on October 26. The bodies of Shania and Martinez were discovered in a sleeping bag two Saturdays ago and Rampersad’s body was found tied to a tree on Tuesday.

The horror-filled event took place in an atmosphere where the TTPS was reeling and still is, under the effects of toting an unbelievable crime detection rate of below ten per cent—a figure that no self-respecting policing authority dare boast of.

It also occurred in a period when citizens were becoming immune to the emotional fall-out over the wanton bloodletting involving innocent citizens, to a large extent. The perpetrators of which felt empowered by the inability of the men and women of the TTPS to put some kind of reasonable restraint on the marauding criminals whose weapon of choice is the gun, and not just the ordinary ones.

Armed with this kind of evil assurance that they could take out anybody they chose to and secure in the knowledge that they would not be held—even if they were, the state witness could easily be taken out of the picture—they prosecuted their job with fiendish delight.

Two weeks ago I joined with the majority of citizens who, because of this unenviable record of the TTPS, somewhat doubted that the people we pay to serve and protect us with pride, perhaps could not deliver on this horrendous crime. My heart sank on hearing the news of the first two bodies being found and I depressingly felt it was all over and it was only a matter of time before the other three were found in similar circumstances—dead.

However, I received a sudden bolt of renewed emotional confidence and energy on hearing the great news that the teenagers had been found safe and sound. 

Our men and women of the TTPS had pulled off a significant success, even though there were three casualties on the completion of their mission.

Well, it is not exactly over, since the most wanted man in the country at this time is still being hunted by the security services, but at least we can take comfort in the fact that they indeed did damned well in the overall exercise, which took them deep into the forested area in pursuit of their quarry.

Yes, they are being paid to do exactly what they have achieved, but when they mess up, don’t we come down like a ton of bricks on them? By the same token we should extend deep gratitude for their selfless performance, not forgetting that they undertook their assignment at personal risk given the type of territory they had to work in.

Because of the very good job put down by the police I feel confident that the chief suspect being sought in this most horrendous crime will be apprehended, one way or another.

I join with the rest of the national community in saluting their performance and hope that this would inspire them to push ahead with the arduous task at hand.

The citizens who enabled the police to make their breakthrough must also take some kudos, because it has been well established that the police need our full support in their relentless war against the criminal elements.

In the excitement felt with the Brasso Seco exercise we can’t let slip by another piece of excellent work done by the  Southern  Division Task Force and the San Fernando CID, in dramatically arresting  four suspects who had shortly before, robbed a doubles vendor and his wife on Saturday morning.

Both and other similar efforts should augur well for the future success of the TTPS. 

Simultaneously with this type of work we expect the Police Commissioner to move swiftly to weed out the bad eggs in the TTPS who are still giving the service a bad name.



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