Word of a team of US-based anti-crime experts being hired by a business lobby group to help the T&T Police Service dismantle and prosecute criminal gangs is the latest in a show of how law-abiding citizens can contribute to bringing this country back to a level of sanity on the spiralling crime issue.
Seven months ago and unknowing to the population, the T&T Citizens Alliance Against Crime, made up of T&T Chamber of Commerce members, NGOs and private sector companies, approached Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith for his blessings to start a collaboration in the fight against crime. However, the body did not offer themselves. Rather, they co-opted the services of former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Special Agent Robert Clark to do so on their behalf.
Clark has, among other things, been credited with reducing Los Angeles’ gang wars through his specially devised initiatives which hone in on the exact trouble areas and design programmes to resolve them. Our information suggests that the Alliance would have suggested that Clark be allowed to run a specialist unit to bring down the gangs and criminal networks across T&T based on his particular expertise in this area.
This newspaper gives CoP Griffith credit for accepting the help, since admittance the service in itself was floundering and needed such intervention would have been a first step towards him resolving some of the issues. But Griffith has always been known to adopt non-traditional approaches to achieving goals.
In this regard, however, we hope that this project, if it is allowed to come to full fruition, since Griffith cannot act on his own on such a major initiative, is not derailed by the famous blue curtain.
History will show that the TTPS does not ever fully co-operate with “outsiders” whose mandates are to clean up the system and weed out rogue elements so as to eliminate the facilitation of the criminal elements. We only have to go back a few years to the example of Canadians Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski, who were forced out by officers unwilling to allow foreigners to succeed in the fight against crime. Griffith has been lucky not to have suffered a similar fate, he, after all, being a former Defence Force member given a chance to steer the TTPS ship ahead of other police officers who had auditioned for the same position just over a year ago.
This is why we hope Griffith will now get all hands on deck to support the initiative to allow Clark the opportunity to give a helping hand to fight crime.
It is safe to surmise that up to now, the crime-fighting initiatives from both the TTPS and Government have failed to bring the sustained success needed. Last week’s Bail (Amendment) Bill may have been a start to a fresh impetus and Clark’s initiative could be another boost. Citizens deserve no less now.