Last update: 06-Dec-2013 12:15 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Subhas: Gangsters getting tip-offs on raids
Former national security minister Subhas Panday has called on the National Security Council to investigate the reason why no guns—“not even a caps gun”—were found during the police raids on Duncan and Nelson Streets, Port-of-Spain, last weekend. “It smells of corruption,” Panday said in a press conference at his law office in San Fernando on Wednesday. Panday also said the anti-gang legislation must work in tandem with the intercept legislation in order to be effective. “Imagine, all these murders were gang-related and the weapons used were firearms,” he said. “Police claimed to have strategically timed when they would swoop down on these alleged gun-toting gangsters. The police arrested 90, now 100 persons, but they did not recover a single firearm, not a single round of ammunition, they did not even recover a caps gun or any other toy gun.
He added, “My view is this smells of corruption or incompetence or both.” In answer to a question, he said, “You can’t lock down and police take you by surprise and eh even get a cap gun. Some heads must roll. Did anybody tip off anybody? Is it sheer incompetence by the police? The national security council should investigate that, otherwise all the raids will come to nought.” He said to further aggravate the situation, 56 of the people arrested were released without being charged. By doing this, he said, the police were allowing the criminals to be emboldened. “Eventually the arrests will be a joke, so what we have is the guns are back out on the streets and the men are back out on the streets, so what they can expect to hear in the near future is more bloodshed.”
He said the authorities were exactly in the same position as in the state of emergency in 2011. “One year later and we have not been able to get any intelligence on the gang people and we know who the gang leaders are. Something is drastically wrong.”
Asking why the police were unable to get the intelligence, he said, “Why it is we cannot use the intercept legislation? The anti-gang legislation cannot stand by itself, you must have the intercept legislation working with it, and it seems to me they cannot develop the ability to use the intercept legislation and that is why they can’t charge anybody.” He said the police also had to be able to understand the mind of the criminals and how they operate. He also called on the Coast Guard to give a public record of the work it has been doing. Noting that the National Security Ministry gets the largest chunk of the budget, he said no more money should be pumped into the ministry unless the police come up with a proper crime plan.
As chairman, he said, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar should call a meeting of the National Security Council, including the National Security Minister, “put them in a room and demand answers on why you cannot deal with the crime situation.” When a reason is given then the government will be able to take action to deal with the crime problem, he said. “Crime shouldn’t be a political football. It’s a long-term process that cannot be done in five years,” he said, adding that all law enforcement agencies must work together. Dismissing yesterday’s planned meeting between Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and Persad-Bissessar, he said the PNM could not deal with crime and so he did not expect Rowley could give the PM any valid advice.
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