Acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob says he’s not surprised that Trinidad and Tobago was ranked sixth amongst countries with the highest crime rates in a report posted by the World Population Review.
The report states that “Trinidad and Tobago’s Government faces several challenges in its effects to reduce crime, such as bureaucratic resistance to change, the negative influence of gangs, drugs, economic recession and an overburdened legal system.”
Addressing this on Friday, Jacob said, “I need to see the manner in which they did the analysis to come up with which placed Trinidad and Tobago in sixth place and I believe it is for the first quarter (of 2022) and we will admit that in the first four months of this year, we have had high incidents of crime and I am not a bit surprised because last year, we would have ended up in ninth place in the analysis. But I will need to see who did it and how it was done but it is a good guide for us and if it changes at the end of six months or the year, we will be looking forward to answer similar questions on why it moved from sixth place to 15th place or 20th place, we will want the media to also follow that.”
Jacob was speaking following an appreciation ceremony for Earnest Constantine, of Paramin, at the House of Angostura in Laventille. Constantine was heralded for his honesty after finding a bag containing thousands of dollars and returning it to its rightful owner.
Also commenting on the crime situation at the event, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said human lives are now being treated by criminals like “dogs on the road.” He lamented the recent murder of Jimmy Thomas in Sangre Grande for “a dirty little gold chain.”
He said when a life is taken so cheaply, it dehumanises the nation.
“It cost humanity some loss because when you see lives taken cheaply like dogs, like dogs on the road that some vehicle would smother, it takes away from our humanity because God could have created us to be anything else but he gave us a human spirit, so every time we see a life taken so aimlessly and so foolishly for one dirty little gold chain, it cheapens all of us.”
He added that the crime cost the community of Sangre Grande a friend, brother and contributor.
Hinds said crime is a moving target and there is no overnight fix but noted the Government is allocating the necessary resources to combat the problem. However, he said a major factor of crime has to do with society’s levels of productivity.
“If all of us who are paid to do jobs do them, you will find that the society will be better organised and we will get more done, children will learn better in school, their psychological needs will be better taken care of, parents will do better jobs as parents, law enforcement will do a better job by being present, so I think and nobody wants to discuss it, but there is also a direct relationship between our failure to work as diligently as we all should and its contribution to the problems that we face.”
Meanwhile, Jacob was also asked to respond to a 2020 Strategic Services Agency annual report laid in the Senate on Tuesday, which said illegal firearms seized by the police from violent criminals are making their way back into the hands of gang members.
Jacob said this was a “long time thought.”
“What I can tell you, within the last few years we have tightened up things significantly, so that question of whether or not the firearms are being recycled will be eliminated. As you are aware, we have set up a one-stop-shop at our Special Evidence Recovery Unit in Cumuto and we also have the guidance for the police officers that the firearms must reach there in a particular time. Now, with the opening of the Ballistics Department, if a firearm came there and it comes again, they will be able to identify it immediately and the officers will be held accountable.”