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Case For Revamped E999
The announcement by Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs of plans to revamp the entire E999 system must be treated as an urgent priority by the executive of the Police Service. A harrowing experience I endured last Thursday evening drove home the importance of beefing up this and other sections of the TTPS if the men and women sworn to protect and serve us with pride are to successfully prosecute this relentless war against the criminal elements.
Around 8.15 pm I tried to enter a mini-mart in the East when I was told by a female employee standing outside the closed doors of the establishment that I could not. I found it strange she was turning away other customers, as the store is known to close much later than that time.
Being a friend of the proprietors, I told her to tell them I was outside and would like to get inside. She returned and, given the green light, I entered and was astonished to see my friends engaged in a violent altercation. Her lower lip was swollen and bleeding, his T-shirt a bloodied mess.
The three of us alone in there and I trying to be peacemaker, imploring them to settle their differences peacefully. But the atmosphere was so charged that I thought I was wasting my time, and they were hurling charges of infidelity at each other. After about ten minutes and realising I was not getting through to either of them, I decided in disgust to leave them alone, as it is well known that sometimes peacemakers end up the worse for trying to quell such situations.
What convinced me to rush out the place was when one of them pulled out a long knife, threatening the other to come closer if they dared. I did not have my cell phone so I quickly headed home, from where I called E999, telling them what was taking place. I had originally decided not to go back because I thought I was powerless to stop them from their dangerous path, and if they wanted to harm each other I could not stop it.
But my conscience bothered me; I couldn’t abandon my friends at this critical time. So I returned to see what I could do further. On my way I went to the St Joseph Police Station and was told that they had received the message from E999 and that a patrol was on the way to the scene.
Back at the premises, the confrontation was still raging and the situation still very tense. I tried again to talk them out of what was clearly a vola-tile situation, with the knife-wielding partner not dropping the weapon. After about 15 minutes and no sign of the patrol, I went outside and prayed for their speedy arrival. No luck. However, a short time later I saw the flashing light of a police vehicle approaching. I flagged the car and informed the driver, PC Curtis Stowe, and his colleague, WPC Penny Lou-Alexander, what was going on.
They immediately got out of the vehicle and rushed inside. When I got there one of my friends had sustained a big cut on the left hand. If ever I had any doubt that there were men and women of good character and selfless service in the TPPS, it was erased that night. PC Stowe assumed the dual role of a police officer and counsellor at the same time.
Having been told the genesis of the violent dispute, he advised, among other things, that if they could not resolve their differences amicably they should seek professional counselling, and that all the hard work they put into their business would go down the drain if they continued on their road of certain destruction. Think about their children, he begged them.
In a stern but still compassionate manner, he said he would not charge them, be-cause he didn’t believe they would want to press charges against each other—and he was in fact correct. After about 25 minutes, PC Stowe and WPC Lou-Alexander left, continuing on their original journey to buy dinner.
Their timely intervention quelled what could have resulted in a disaster of unimaginable proportions, and up to when I left them, around 10 pm, the patrol was yet to arrive. I checked the next day and was told they never turned up. The E999 arm of the service is an extremely valuable tool in the fight against the “gundelores,” and we are anxiously awaiting this promised overhauling of the system—the faster the better.
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