A colleague has sent me a remarkable video of a conversation with the Irish surgeon Dr Denis Burkett done in 1993 some months before his death.
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No more excuses in war on crime
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has read the riot act to the National Security Council (NSC), demanding that members step up to the plate in the fight against crime otherwise they will be held personally accountable for any failure to stem the tide. Persad-Bissessar also announced yesterday that with immediate effect all leave for police officers has been put on indefinite hold.
“All hands would be on deck in the fight against crime. This means all officers from the top to the bottom,” Persad-Bissessar said after holding an emergency meeting with the council for close to three hours at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. She admitted, however, that putting more police officers on the ground was not the answer. “Just putting more officers on the ground hasn’t worked. That is one aspect of it. It is also more use of all the resources and technology,” she said.
Describing the crime situation, particularily the spike in murders in the new year, as intolerable, Persad-Bissessar said: “Since the start of this new year, one week ago, our nation has seen an unprecedented spike in violence and murders. “This spike occurred despite increase in efforts in focusing resources, implementation, modified equipment, new technology and police visibility.” She said when she met with the council yesterday she asked why that was happening and what could be done to stop it.
Based on the information she received, Persad-Bissessar said: “I intend to take a much deeper interest and action required to reverse this spike in my role as chairman of the NSC. “At no time could crime be considered acceptable and the recent spike in violent crime has made this situation completely intolerable. The Government and people of T&T are demanding action and results.” She added that children must be protected and must feel safe and young people must be able to live their lives and enjoy their youth.
“As Prime Minister and as chairman of the NSC, we will no longer tolerate excuses for failure by our protective and security services to keep our country safe. At today’s (yesterday) meeting I was very clear to all heads... a murder is simply not a murder... violence is not simply violence,” Persad-Bissessar said. A very small majority, she added, was “eating away” at the peace and security of law-abiding citizens.
“I have also made clear to each member of the NSC that they would be held personally accountable for any form of failure to keep the peace and protect our citizens. “As the ones in charge of the respective arms of the protective security services, they must perform... no shades of grey, no excuses, no apologies.”
Measures announced by Persad-Bissessar
• No leave for all police officers.
• Further modernisation and development of National Operations Centre.
• Closer monitoring by PM on the performance of National Security members.
• Greater collaborative effort between the Police Service and the Defence Force.
• Police to work with Ministries of the People and Gender to provide safe houses to victims of domestic violence.
• New dogs for Canine Unit.