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Please get it right this time

Friday, July 13, 2018

Anti-gang efforts are starting with a clean slate, which might not be such a bad thing if the relevant authorities use this opportunity to learn from and avoid the mistakes of the past.

Dislodging the criminal gang culture that has taken root across T&T will require sensible and sustained intelligence gathering, surveillance and rapid law enforcement response to all gang-related crimes. There must be a determined effort to shut down every system and eradicate every loophole that has allowed these gangs to flourish and expand their tentacles.

According to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, there are approximately 2,500 suspected gang members in T&T. Now that he and his officers are empowered legislatively, they should waste no time in going after all of them.

The Judiciary must also ensure that all proven to be involved in gang activity face the consequences of their crimes with no unwarranted delays.

T&T cannot afford a repeat of the mistakes of 2011 when, during the state of emergency enforced late that year, gang members were arrested but later released because of deficiencies in the law and investigations. Many of the people who were detained during that time have since successfully sued the State and won compensation for wrongful arrest.

Please get it right this time

Fix WASA’s many shortcomings

In testimony before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) of Parliament on Wednesday, Customer Service Manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority Alan Poon King revealed the residential customers owed the bulk of the $604 million in water rates owed to the utility.

However, the lingering question is whether WASA supplied adequate levels of service, even to customers who are not in arrears. Anecdotal and other information suggests that is not the case.

In fact, the JSC heard that the majority of customers do not get a 24/7 supply of water. This has been a shortcoming of WASA for decades. There is also the matter of deteriorating infrastructure, including large expanses of leaking pipelines.

It would be good to hear how WASA plans to deal with these many shortcomings and whether there is any plan for a nationwide 24/7 water supply.

A state of preparedness

The good news from the head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) retired Captain Neville Wint is that T&T is in a state of readiness for the hurricane season. Severe weather forecast over the next several hours will test that preparedness.


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