Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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DCP Richardson: I don’t know about Duncan Street police post
One day after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the establishment of a police post at Duncan Street in Port-of-Spain to combat a resurgence of gang violence, some senior members of the Police Service say they were not consulted on the initiative. Asked about the projected time frame for setting up the police post, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson said: “That is a government thing. I can’t tell you about that. I don’t know about the police post.”
Several other senior officers assigned to the Port-of-Spain Division also expressed similar sentiments. “We did not get any official communication. All we know is what we heard the politicians say,” one senior officer said yesterday afternoon. The officers also questioned the 48-hour time frame initially given by Persad-Bissessar. “Several things have to be put in place before the post is established. It is not that easy,” an officer said.
Persad-Bissessar made the announcement while touring several communities in east Port-of-Spain with several Government ministers on Thursday afternoon. The tour was held in response to a recent upsurge in gang violence which saw six people, among them three teenagers, murdered in east Port-of-Spain within 24 hours on Wednesday. Persad-Bissessar said the joint army and police post will be at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain.
She said: “The proposal is to use this building to put an army and police post right here in the heart of Duncan Street where other exercises and initiatives would be undertaken by the commissioner with their joint forces. I think their presence here will be very important. Contacted for comment yesterday, Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald says she is amazed by the announcement of the establishment of a police post at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain.
In a telephone interview yesterday afternoon, McDonald said she had been advocating for the reintroduction of police posts in east Port-of-Spain, since two at Mango Rose, East Dry River, and Pleasaince Terrace, Laventille, were removed, almost two years ago. McDonald said her pleas for the reinstatement of the post had been repeatedly ignored.
McDonald said: “I held meetings with two national security ministers Jack Warner and John Sandy; with former police commissioner Dwanye Gibbs and Jack Ewatski and they told me that police posts were not in keeping with 21st century policing.” She said that while the police post may temporarily reduce crime in the area, government should focus their attention on the illegal drug trade. “If you cannot stop the drug problem you cannot stop the crime problem,” McDonald said.
She also criticised the government for “dismantling” crime fighting initiatives introduced by the previous PNM administration including the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (Sautt) and a contract for three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). “You cannot dismantle systems and replace them with nothing,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the police post would not be effective by itself but only when coupled with additional anti-crime measures and programmes. “I want to hear about the real issues and see some holistic plans,” she said.
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