MP Tewarie held Police Town meeting to address worsening crime situation in Central
The MP for Caroni Central, Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie held a successful Town Meeting on Monday, July 11 at the Three Roads Development Centre with Central Police. Heading the Police team was Superintendent Paul, accompanied by Asst Supt Jackson, Inspector Bedassie, Sgt James and Heads of the Freeport, Brasso and Gran Couva Police Stations. Approximately 120 residents from various communities of Caroni Central attended the meeting. Five victims of recent crime including the murder of a loved one, robbery at gunpoint in homes, kidnap, abuse of a child and harassment of neighbourhoods spoke out on their experiences. All crimes mentioned are so far unsolved.
Over a dozen citizens spoke out at the meeting. They spoke about the lack of trust, lack of credibility and disrespect by police towards citizens. They spoke about police indiscipline, unresponsiveness, inaction in cases of follow up and the general inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the police. Some speakers said they could not understand how known drug blocks continued to function with impunity.
They asked for greater police presence, regular patrols across the constituency, follow up and resolution of cases now before the police and greater respect for citizens and community support when crimes occur and to prevent crimes.
Supt Paul admitted that crime had increased in Central Trinidad in 2016 but he outlined how the Police had beefed up their resources to deal with the situation. He also emphasized that Army and Coast Guard support had been added in Central to support police.
Supt Paul acknowledged that there were bad eggs in the police service but emphasized that these were in the very small minority. Most police officers he stressed were good officers who worked responsibly. He promised to take citizens concerns seriously and to work in a more constructive way with the community. He asked residents to report rogue police officers and to join Police Community Councils to work together to deal with crime.
Inspector Bedassie outlined a series of ways in which citizens can be more vigilant and take precautions and preventative measures as well as work with the police to fight crime together. He said that in Central Trinidad Police were stepping up their Community policing activities and asked for the support of Communities.
Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, asked the Police for specific actions in 9 areas:
1) Increase in police patrols and police presence with visibility across the constituency
2) Organized Community Policing initiatives of a meaningful kind
3) Greater discipline in Police Stations in Central, increased courteousness towards citizens, greater responsiveness to their concerns and reports
4) A rapid response unit or capability in each police station in central to support on-going police operations and to respond to emergency needs
5) Engagement by the police of the Business community in Caroni Central who are often identified as targets by criminals
6) Effectively managing the presence of migrants to unsuspecting communities whose objective was to establish a safe location for the conduct of crime. Dr Tewarie stressed that Trinidad and Tobago is a free and democratic country where anyone can chose to live anywhere. He also stressed that Caroni Central was a peaceful place attractive to people who wanted to bring up a family. But he said that it was foolish to not be pro active and deal effectively with those who migrated with criminal intent
7) He said that there was need for more electronic eyes in Caroni Central and that he would write to the Minister of National Security on this matter.
8) He stressed that Police in Central were aware of criminals in Central and that there was need to keep these under surveillance and targeted so their freedom to engage in criminal activity could be curbed
9) He said he would work with communities in Caroni Central to build genuine Community vigilance teams that could the build a genuine partnership with police that can actually work and show results.
Dr Tewarie closed by asking residents of Caroni Central to not surrender and become victims of crime who can be easily exploited.
He asked citizens not to be afraid to demand a disciplined, focused, responsive, supportive and effective police service in Central Trinidad as that is their right as citizens.
Finally he asked residents to take action in their homes and communities to become responsible and vigilant and to work with police to establish strong Community- Police partnerships.