Unbelievable! Really remarkable! The government seems so bold that the population shouldn’t be surprised at waste! It has been the loudest in proclaiming that it has squandered or plans to squander over $80 million. This sum only represents the purchase of cameras, video surveillance or not.
Still to be disclosed – if accounted for – are the costs of maintenance, monitoring, communications, response, and online access to the licensing authority to identify motorists who are blatantly violating traffic rules as an aspect of using camera technology.
There are more than 1,000 cameras installed across the country, of which more than 300 are not working. Why? Was this considered before deciding on or purchasing additional cameras? What was the tangible value of existing cameras? Eighty million dollars could be better spent buying resources for the police force.
It has been joked that the army has to do joint patrols with the police because “soldiers are trained to kill”. How many people have been killed by soldiers on previous patrols? How many people did the police kill?
They may not be as well trained as the army, but they seem to defend themselves when their lives are in danger. What is different about soldiers? Soldiers don’t have the power to arrest what the police do, so why not give them that power, even temporarily?
Sure, the police may have more training in customer service and identity screening, but the soldiers’ mission can be managed effectively. They should patrol separately from the police to extend coverage and thereby create a larger protective presence across the country.
Additionally, the visibility of soldiers can make criminals think twice before committing crimes. Police need to be more visible during the day on freeways, and particularly at junctions where misguided motorists turn their noses up at the licensing authority.
How many people think the police are very ineffective? How many times have the police been called and never responded by simply saying, “We have no vehicles”? How many have been called to domestic violence cases and never showed up or simply said, “There is nothing we can do but warn the person”?
What are the police administration arm, the National Security Council and the Ministry of National Security doing about these cases?
There are many facets of crime – such as white-collar, property, organised, high-tech and violent crime – which are manifested in the alarming number of homicides, gang related and non-gang related.
Many people, including politicians, lawyers, judges, and police officers have been victims of crime, yet the focus seems to be on reviving old crime initiatives that were good but were allowed to fail miserably because they weren’t or weren’t allowed to be managed.
What will be different with the cameras, joint patrols and physical presence, namely “Boots on the Ground” when revisited if there is no management, leadership and proper action?
Various governments have announced plans to fight crime. Is it in a government’s interest to curb crime, or is it vote-getting to talk about a crime-fighting plan? Protecting property and ensuring compliance with the law are key aspects of any government.
Knowing how many gangs exist who appear to be drafting laws to combat gangs and crime without really doing anything other than glossing over or hiding the truth about crime seems paramount in the eyes of those familiar with the responsible for fighting crime.
How serious is the judiciary when suspected criminals are in prison awaiting trial or have been on bail for decades? Or is it enough to talk about crimes when they occur, now that Trinbago has surpassed 500 murders and is waiting for the “Nine Day Miracle” to be over so business as usual can resume?
Realistically, what happened is talk, more talk, apparent outrage to please the public, knowing that no real action will be taken and Trinbago would accelerate its progress to become one of the most crime-ridden countries in the world !
A great many crime-fighting reports have been made over the decades, but the government sees fit to revive old crime plans without specifying what happened to them when they were previously tried! Is crime fighting really serious?
If it is serious, the government must set up a team or committee to consider the recommendations of the myriad crime reports, actively follow the progress of those recommendations, and seriously allocate the necessary management and leadership resources needed to deploy cameras, joint or separate patrols and to make greater visibility of the effective work of the police and army.
Without this initiative, the government will continue to blame the opposition, the opposition will continue to blame the government, ill-considered statements will be made by individuals about crime in Trinidad and Tobago, reports of crime will be worthless and crime will continue escalate into a health risk and become entrenched.
Talking is cheap! Will crime continue to be a nice topic of conversation, or are the government, opposition and other organizations really serious about curbing crime regardless of cameras, patrols and physical presence?