3B waste in the absence of police reform


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Category: Trinidad Politics Date: 02 Oct 05


When innocent children can be shot at in a panyard and the killer or killers remain at large, that speaks to me of crisis, for all of us. So too, do what may well be described as bomb tests around our capital city, again with perpetrators on the loose, the slaying of seven people over the weekend, as well as kidnappings, even of the poor...


“The gaze of the people of this nation and of others is fixed upon those who have been placed in the broad ambit of positions of leadership, beginning with this Parliament.” —His Excellency Prof George Maxwell Richards, President of Trinidad and Tobago at Ceremonial Opening of Parliament.


IRONIC that on the very day our Prime Minister announced the arrival of the FBI and Scotland Yard to help us combat crime in his $34 billion Budget, a senior police chief in London Andrew Haymen, tells the Guardian (UK) that London faces the threat of more terrorist attacks despite increased security and recruitment since their deadly July bombings which claimed 52 lives.


“We have to be vigilant,” Haymen said, “but you can't predict where or how or when they will try.”


If they can’t predict there, why can they predict here?


Ironic, too, that Bush’s FBI agents were found less than up-to-the-mark in the bombings leading up to September 11.


Practically every corner of our country has been targeted with bomb threats, and evacuating schools, banks and malls has become an everyday thing.


Are FBI and Scotland Yard going to help us when they can’t help themselves?


And who is Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds kidding by saying this government has not lost faith in the Police Service? Numerous reports have indicated that our police are associated with every crime, from major drug operations and kidnappings to unlawful possession and sale of firearms.


The Budget has pumped almost three billion dollars into the Police Service. In the absence of police reform, it’s just throwing good money after bad.


The man to weed out the bad apples would have been former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who whittled down an alarmingly high rate of murders in New York City to almost nothing by calling for accountability in every district, firing and demoting incompetent officers, promoting the best and using Comp Stat to trace criminal patterns.


The Budget has done nothing to stem the tide of thousands of home-bred criminals that our system churns out daily. Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his wife, Education Minister Hazel Manning must know that criminals are created by a deadly combination of illiteracy, poverty and a “gimme gimme or I’ll rob you” entitlement that is bred in our state dependency syndrome programmes Cepep and URP.


What mention is there in the budget of containing runaway functional literacy, which stands at 500,000 and is climbing yearly? What happens to the thousands of teenagers who emerge unable to read and write, with no passes from our education system? What happens to the unskilled, unemployed, illiterate, adult poor who number over 400,000.


They join URP, of course. Where they are not taught to read and write, not taught essential skills that will allow them to become employed (the masons, carpenters, electricians, mechanics are being imported, we understand, from Jamaica). From nothing comes nothing. Nobody is nurturing our masses of illiterate and poor, nobody is giving them a sense of achievement, or hope. These people are sucked into our vacuous state criminal-breeding systems.


The FBI, Scotland Yard can fly in here but to no avail.


They will leave, achieving nothing, telling one another on the flight out that Britain and the US are first world countries precisely because they have functioning education systems, which unlike ours don’t churn out criminals faster than you can catch them.


President Richards spoke like a statesman when he said “there are no special targets here. The target is the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, but I want to serve notice that we are not ‘up for grabs,’ as the saying goes.”


I pray that President Richards is right, but given the evidence, I fear otherwise.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur