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No More Foreigners, Please
It will go down as one of the most expensive farces perpetuated on the population and I am appealing to the PP administration to please reverse the system of recruiting the higher echelons of the T&T Police Service, including the Commissioner of Police.
Regardless of the fancy terminologies used by foreigners like Prof Stephen Mastrofski and Donald Zettlemoyer, director of Penn’s State Justice and Safety Institute, which shared in a multi-million windfall to select our top police officer and his two deputies, it was a retrograde step, if not completely demoralising to our hard-working men and women of the TTPS.
The exercise was undertaken to satisfy the whims and fancies of one man whose burning desire was to recruit a foreigner as commissioner of police, which we all know ended up in a total and unmitigated disaster.
According to background information supplied by the foreign “experts” when they were brought into the country by the then pseudo-emperor who was hell-bent on installing an expat to head up the TTPS, “T&T&T has been plagued with gang activity and drug trafficking—and the situation has overwhelmed this Caribbean nation’s police force.” Mastrofski invited Penn State to be a partner in the project to transform the police force because of the university’s considerable reputation in this field.
Of course that situation has taken on epidemic proportions today. We all remember that the first choice of the selectors was the man who is now acting CoP. He was turned down by the emperor, who finally got his two foreigners. The emperor by then had lost the government, but the system was already in place and the PP had no choice but to go along with the chosen two.
Penn State’s “successful implementation” of an assessment process for police officers meant that “now the transformation of the service begins,” said then Commissioner Trevor Paul. Has this transformation really taken place, when the current acting Commissioner of Police is still talking about weeding out rogue elements in the TTPS, something which we have been hearing for a very long time?
To digress a little, in 2005 our Ministry of National Security tapped the Justice and Safety Institute to join an ambitious multifaceted initiative to transform the TTPS. We are yet to hear of any serious transformation, particularly with respect to how some of them deal with traumatic issues from members of the public on a daily basis.
It appears some of them do not realise that their principal role is to protect and serve the people. And if they cannot perform such a simple and delicate humanitarian undertaking then they should quit the service and leave it to those who really want to serve their people.
Now getting back to the main point, the system imposed by the last PNM regime is not cast in concrete and stone and it would be not only a terrible injustice to our sovereign state but, as I said, it would also be a serious blow to the morale of our dedicated men and women in the TTPS to be put through the indignity once more of having to be assessed by a group of foreigners who may very well serve us with another of their ilk again as leader of our TTPS.
It did not work the first time and it definitely would not work a second time. There are highly academically qualified members of the TTPS who burnt the midnight oil to become attorneys and attain other degrees. Why throw away millions of our dollars which could be better used than be given away to foreigners out to grab some easy money at our expense?
I am told international invitations for applications are about to be issued and I am set like a black mamba waiting to see if we are going to repeat the same old demoralising act of putting our hard-working officers through the embarrassment of having foreigners assess their competence.
It is nothing like the past, when police officers were elected more for their brawn rather than their intellectual capacity, and many of them have shown they are willing to improve their academic record because they want to make the police service their career. Putting artificial blocks in their path is definitely not the way to go.
We have the competency to set our own system for promoting our police officers and I do not think we can go into another jurisdiction and dare tell them we should be an integral part of the upward mobility of their police officers. I am anxiously waiting to see if we are going to throw away another couple of millions of dollars when that money could be put to more productive use. Let’s see if they are going to play the fool with the nation’s money when there’s absolutely no need for such wasteful expenditure.
The PP came promising change and change it must deliver at every step of the way.
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