Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:58 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Beating A Dead Horse With Sautt And OPVS
It has been noted that the Opposition and a few others have been attempting to revamp and justify their two major security policies whilst in Government, that being SAUTT and the OPVs, which both failed miserably. After nearly a decade in office their only two mega crime busting plans involved the implementation of a unit called SAUTT that was never established or legalised, and the plan to purchase OPVs, which were defective.
The crime statistics would show that as soon as SAUTT was introduced, major criminal activities actually increased, and when it was disbanded, it was reduced. So it leaves one to wonder what empirical data do they have to show how disbanding an illegal unit has caused increase in crime, when crime actually was reduced after they were shut down.
SAUTT in fact, did little other than extract major assets, manpower and resources from the primary elements of law enforcement, that being the police service and defence force.
Furthermore, this illegal unit demoralised the primary law enforcement agencies by being a “blue-eyed boy” entity, with no transparency in the actual selection process as they were handpicked by a chosen few, upon which those luckily chosen were given an extra salary allowance of $5,000 more than those who did not have friends in high places and remained to battle it out and put their lives at risk back at the ranch.
Additionally, contrary to what is said, SAUTT virtually refused to work hand in hand with the mainstream police, inclusive of intelligence gathering and sharing, to the point that even when the blimp was purchased, the then Commissioner of Police did not know about it until it arrived in the country. In contrast to SAUTT, what is being implemented instead is a National Operation Centre (NOC), which, unlike SAUTT, would be a support element to complement the police and all other law enforcement agencies.
It would ensure real-time sharing of information and intelligence and hence ensure better collaboration and successful joint operations. The Offshore Patrol Vessel was no better. It is amazing that the Opposition can continue to state that crime is taking place because of the absence of an asset that was never even there, which means that they are making statements with absolutely no empirical data to justify their idle claim.
If these expensive toys had actually arrived in our waters and were effective in reduction of illegal entry of drugs, weapon and persons into our shores then one can justify these statements. But to make statements that our shores are porous because of an item that was never even here, makes absolutely no sense. In fact, just by the outcome of the arbitration, it was confirmed that the OPV could not be considered an asset, but instead would have been a liability as it was defective and rightfully rejected.
Instead, this money can now be used to acquire an effective and not defective Long Range Patrol Vessel, and virtually do the same as an OPV, but with extra funding remaining to also acquire new fast patrol vessels to replace the six defective fast patrol vessels also acquired by the PNM.
Coast Guard installations strategically placed around the island, and Unmanned Aerial Vessels (UAVs), all would become part of a multi-faceted approach involving several elements, all working together to lock down our borders via this maritime security wall, with the same funds used that have been saved by not purchasing three defective OPVs, which would have operated in an isolated system, and hence be ineffective to secure our borders.
Rather than try to justify their two flawed anti-crime initiatives which were both weighed, measured and found wanting, it is recommended that the Opposition continue to rightfully work hand in hand with Government to reduce crime, and not do so by beating dead horses in OPVs and SAUTT, as successful fighting crime needs more than just common sense and a level head.
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