OUR CARIBBEAN: T&T’s ‘expert’ move to combat dangerous crime
Confronted with criminal rampage and related threats to national security, some governments of the Caribbean Community have occasionally resorted to recruiting the expert services of foreign cops – from Britain, Canada or the United States – with impressive credentials in combating criminality.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in particular have, more than others, resorted to such a practice. They have had to also contend, at times, with tensions among ranks of their respective police service amid rumblings about “foreign experts” with a mix of politicking by parliamentary parties.
Barbados, the headquarters location for the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, has managed, so far, to cope without such foreign expertise – even in the face of a new wave of gun-related killings, robberies as well as climbing rape cases.
Just earlier this week, a highly-rated American crime-buster, William Bratton, former New York police chief, arrived in Port-of-Spain for talks with the government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on how he could help to arrest the current epidemic of criminality.
Well, it so happens that Bratton’s arrival came some 15 months after two high-profile cops from Canada had quit the two top positions in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, amid political wrangling as well as internal rumblings among ranks.
The media blurbs on Bratton were quite impressive and could well inspire hope among peace-loving citizens of Trinidad and Tobago understandably quite anxious for an effective halt to the criminal rampage.
This hope would be shared by their CARICOM cousins, facing as they themselves do in their respective jurisdictions, frightening levels of crime that include not only gun-related murders and robberies, but the old menace of drug-trafficking and now the comparatively new abomination to involve this region – human trafficking.
Bratton’s crime-fighting credentials include his service as a former top cop of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He lost no time in reminding the local media of his “successes” in implementation of a data-driven management model in combating crime in New York, called “ComStat” (comparative statistics).
Hopefully, when he settles down to carrying out his challenging task to beat back criminality in that twin-island state of CARICOM, including gruesome scenes of killings, armed robberies, sickening rape cases, and other heart-wrenching acts of criminality, Bratton would come forward with recommendations/strategies to effectively enable successes where failures have largely been the norm.
It is of relevance to point out here that in exercising the initiative to benefit from the expert advice of Bratton, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar would also be conscious of her obligations to CARICOM in her current role as the regional leader with responsibility for crime and security.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.