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T&T almost a Barbaric Society

PSC boss: Technology, domestic violence crimes too high
Published: 
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Dr Maria-Therese Gomes

In terms of crime, T&T is almost a barbaric society due to technology and domestic violence crimes, says Police Service Commission chairman Dr Maria-Therese Gomes.

Gomes made the comment while appearing before Parliament's Joint Select Committee yesterday.

She said the opportunity for the JSC examination was very timely, since the PSC was acutely aware of existing crime and increasing fear and insecurity in the public domain.

Gomes said T&T has technology that "has galloped" but added that the authorities didn't have "what people see on TV to solve crime easily."

She said many things are needed, from benchmarking and forensic analysis to police training and the Police Academy. But she said the PSC has limited staff.

"None of us-neither you nor I-have a magic wand," she told JSC members.

PSC member Dinanath Ramkissoon said there are detection rates mandated for different police divisions.

Gomes said it "augured well" for the PSC to manage its own funds. She said the commission hadn't had equipment - VCRs etc - to record materials and it had taken a long time to get a Flow connection.

She said commissioners' lunch was often sandwiches during a long day of work and the PSC needed money to have a decent meal in such periods.

JSC member Jennifer Baptiste-Primus agreed that the case was made for PSC commissioners to be full time, after PSC legal adviser Natasha Seecharan said there were 200 appeal cases involving officers and members of the public. Three of the five PSC commissioners sit on the Appeal Tribunal.

Gomes said the PSC is a vital body which requires a full time chairman and deputy chair to become more effective. The PCS, she said, hadn't done a manpower audit of the police service because it lacked the staff to conduct this. There was, however, an interim review by Public Administration in 2014, involving streamlining.

On recent criticism of the PSC by the Police Social and Welfare Association, Gomes said the PSWA knew the PSC's challenges and both had met.

"They have their job to do and we have ours-everyone has a role to play," she said.