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Confirmation of WPC’s death comes in House: Ministers shaken

Published: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Wayne Dick,second from right, along with a party of officers arrive at the Caricom Jetty, Port-of-Spain where the body of WPC Nyasha was brought ashore by members of the T&T Coast Guard

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon yesterday expressed deep concern following the discovery of WPC Nyasha Joseph’s body, but urged the population not to give up hope in the fight against crime.

However, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Glenda Jennings-Smith, said the news of Joseph’s death had left her “saddened and shaken.”

Jennings-Smith said the job of a police officer was always dangerous and when they left home in the morning they were not sure to return to their family at nights since they could be killed in the line of duty.

“It is not the first time a woman police officer has been killed in these types of circumstances,” said Jennings-Smith, a former assistant commissioner of police, adding Joseph worked at the Morvant Police Station, which was a crime hotspot.

It was during the Parliament tea break that Dillon confirmed Joseph’s body had been found by a fisherman at the mouth of the Caroni River.

“He (fisherman) found this heavy weight in his net and then they called on the Coast Guard that was in the Sea Lots area that was part of the operations this morning and the Coast Guard subsequently sent a vessel down to the area where the fisherman found the weight in the net. We just got confirmation that it was WPC Joseph,” Dillon told reporters.

A team of divers went into the water and retrieved Joseph’s body, Dillon said. He could not say how Joseph died.

“We don’t have that information as yet. Investigations will be ongoing to determine, of course, the cause of death.”

He said one person of interest had since been held and the investigation was continuing.

Admitting the news was sad, Dillon offered condolences to Joseph’s mother, family and four-year-old daughter.

“It’s a very sad time in my mind. I don’t feel nice when any citizen dies, quite frankly. Whenever someone dies, or is killed or murdered in Trinidad and Tobago I don’t feel good about it at all.”

Asked what he would tell citizens who have been feeling a sense of hopelessness in the police’s inability to fight crime, Dillon replied, “I don’t think they should feel a sense of hopelessness because the police would not put their hands up in the air and give up the fight against crime and criminality in Trinidad and Tobago. Neither would I as Minister of National Security…neither would the Government. I don’t feel that citizen themselves would put their hands up in the air in frustration. If we do that is to die ourselves.”

While he admitted that the average person would be impacted by discovery of the body, Dillon said counselling would be provided to Joseph’s colleagues at the Morvant Police Station who worked with her closely.

“I believe counselling has already started in that way.”

He said there was a minority in the country who were hell bent on criminality, but the police would continue to fight.

“The majority of citizens are God-fearing and good thinking citizens. Therefore, I believe the majority will always overcome the minority, so we cannot give up.”

Dillon said the Government would also have to treat with graphic photos of bodies being posted on social media.

“It’s a new phenomenon we have to treat with…the whole question of social media. It is something we have to treat with as a country. Sometimes before families are aware, you get these graphic images on social media. Just feel that someone close to you… and before someone tells you in a quiet moment you see those images flash on social media. It is something we have to treat with legislatively or as a country.”

Dillon said he planned to visit Joseph’s family, but did not say when. Asked if her family would be financially compensated, Dillon could not confirm.