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Gang alliances with politicians an evil monster — Deosaran

Published: 
Friday, December 8, 2017
A member of the T&T Defence Force stands guard as a Housing Development Corporation employee removes a mattress from an apartment which was illegally occupied at Clifton Towers in east Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Legal tenants claimed they were terrorised and evicted by gang members in the community, who then occupied the apartments.

Chairman of the Manpower Audit Committee into the T&T Police Service (TTPS), Prof Ramesh Deosaran, yesterday said the alliances between politicians, gang leaders and community leaders have been undermining the operations and morale of the TTPS.

Deosaran said because of such relationships, the gang leaders feel so empowered they even challenge the police in executing their duty.

He made the revelations before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security at the Parliament, Port-of-Spain.

In his opening remarks to JSC chairman Fitzgerald Hinds, Deosaran admitted the TTPS, which has a strength of 7,800, was faced with a number of deficiencies, among them corruption, indiscipline, low detection rate, favouritism and low morale.

Deosaran said there was need for a serious review of the alliances between politicians, gang members and so-called community leaders.

“The issue is serious enough. With that kind of alliance you create an evil monster that has turned into a Frankenstein, which puts the security services and the public generally on the defensive by these so-called gang leaders and community leaders.”

He said we know what has been happening from one government to the next “to be bold enough to put this troublesome issue on the agenda, because it does subvert effective policing. The police become caught in the middle of this horrendous growing Frankenstein.”

Hinds asked Deosaran to explain how the relationship between politicians and gang leaders affects policing.

“When you have these alliances, for example, in the specific case of engineering certain contracts for appeasing potential or current criminals, I think let the police investigate a crime committed by any one of such criminals. The police either get side-tracked or obstructed in several ways. That is, you are entering into a terrain that is almost untouchable,” he said.

Deosaran said it was surprising that such alliances could have been organised for such a long time.

Also addressing the committee, ACP Harold Phillip said historically there has always been a degree of perception that gang leaders are rewarded with government contracts.

“They (gang leaders) seem to have resources to allow them to continue being involved in criminal activities. They invest quite a substantial number of their resources into criminal activities,” said Phillip, as he supported Deosaran.

Deosaran said while the public’s general complaint was that the police do not respond to emergency calls, there was need to improve the public’s trust and confidence.

“But the more troubling demand that we have to face now as people representing the public, especially Parliamentarians, is how to improve public confidence in the police service. If that confidence is not improved, as low as it is now…disturbingly so, you would not get evidence for your court cases, you would not get an effective community policing programme and so on. The negative views and opinions about the police service must be attended to.”