Now that the dust has settled on the grounds of the Police Academy after Saturday’s T&T Police Service Sports Day, we trust that Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher has taken the time to reflect on her self-flattering “excellent” performance rating.
CoP Harewood-Christopher is due to appear before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament today, where we hope she’ll explain the criteria by which she appraised herself when approached by the media Saturday and asked to rate her 100-day performance.
CoP Harewood-Christopher’s response was also to question why the journalist “had the time to count” her length of days in office, while she was “working hard” at her job.
Surely, through her many years of service, the Commissioner must know that every move she makes will be carefully scrutinised.
If, in fact, the rating of “excellent” was borne of a belief that she has already driven better policies and performances within the corridors of the Police Service, then the CoP is badly mistaken to believe the public perceives her in the manner she sees herself.
The reality is a long distance off.
Coming into office, CoP Harewood-Christopher knew the demands placed on her to bring about tangible and visible change after a disastrous 2022 with the highest number of murders on record.
When Parliament approved her appointment on February 3, the murder count was 65.
Two and a half weeks later, as she announced on February 27 that within three months there would be a turnaround in serious crime, the count had risen to 101.
Today, just 10 days away from the three-month mark, the killings have climbed to 229, a 127 per cent increase.
The public’s perception of her tenure today is, therefore, anything but good at present, and the Commissioner must appreciate there is little patience for long-term promises.
The country wants swift action and under her 100-day tenure, we’ve gone further away from a resolution.
The types of double and triple killings we began to see in the latter half of 2022 have risen and have only diminished the confidence citizens have in the Police Service under her watch.
Nothing in Commissioner Harewood-Christopher’s period in charge so far has indicated we are safer today than we were before she took office.
The excellence and “hard work” she speaks of are not reflected in the torment residents now face almost daily through an increasing number of home invasions.
Commissioner Harewood-Christopher must consider giving careful thought to her words, cognisant of the damage it causes while trying to garner more support from the public in the fight against crime.
While she might not be fiddling while Rome burns, the ashes have undoubtedly been rising higher under her watch.