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Dumas: Local commissioner may not reduce crime
Former head of the Public Service, Reginald Dumas, says while the appointment of a T&T national as commissioner of police may have some benefits, it will not necessarily cause any significant reduction in crime. Dumas spoke in a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, hours after the July 26 resignations of Canadian-born Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and his compatriot, Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski, were made public.
It takes effect on August 7. The Police Service Commission is expected to make appointments to act in the positions, pending its selection of permanent appointees to be approved by Parliament. “Putting a local person has its benefits, I don’t deny that, but it is not a panacea for all ills,” said Dumas.
Gibbs’ 21st-century policing plan did not have the approval of National Security Minister Jack Warner. Dumas said no crime plan can be successfully implemented without the active support of the wider national community. He said he was not aware of any meeting being held in Tobago to discuss the 21st-century initiative with the people on the island.
“A new commissioner will have to relate more to the community, because if people feel they are part of the solution, they would be more likely to give information to the police, which would lead to the solving of crime,” Dumas said. Dumas said citizens may feel “more comfortable” with a local officer at the helm because he may have a better understanding of the culture of T&T.
Dumas, a former Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, said more was still needed in the fight against crime, including modern technology and a higher detection rate. Dumas also spoke of the possibility of fallout from the authorities in Canada over the resignation of Gibbs and Ewatski. He said, however, it appeared as though a special arrangement was made for Gibbs and Ewatski to be given a “nice package” as an incentive to resign.
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