Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feature: Criminal deportees to T&T part of the crime problem

Crime remains the major thorn in the side of the Trinidad and Tobago government which came to office on a promise, among other things, to deal with the problem.

Here is what the partnership promised as one of its seven priority areas:

PILLAR 3: National and Personal Security – Human Security for Peace and Prosperity:

"...We recognise that lawlessness and disorder contribute to the atmosphere in which criminal activity thrives and we will address this challenge head on...At the centre of our focus will be human security and the establishment of a regime of peace, security and prosperity on a sustainable basis for our nation."

The man charged with the responsibility of dealing with crime in the country today is Jack Warner, who came into the picture less than one year ago and has promised to win the war against criminals. The gory news and images of the past few weeks do not reflect that but Warner remains optimistic.

He told reporters last week that he is convinced that the law enforcement officers — the Police Service, the Defence Force, the Coast Guard and the Air Guard will defeat the criminals.

"At the end of the day I know that the police and law-enforcement agencies in the country shall overcome,” he said.

And Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar came home from a CARICOM Security conference in Haiti with news of an aggressive regional plan to fight crime. She reiterated her government's commitment to dealing with the problem. 

"The burden of crime affects all of us and therefore it is our collective responsibility to take back our country from the criminals. Crime remains highest on my Government’s agenda, as we seek to ensure safety both locally and regionally."

One of the issues on the table at the Haiti summit was the question of the U.S. policy to deport criminals to their native countries. While the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who attended the meeting, was promising to work with the regional leaders on the issue the news from Washington suggested that there is an acceleration of the Obama administration's policy of criminal deportations.

A report from USA Today states that U.S. immigration officials laid out plans last year that would ratchet up expulsions of immigrants convicted of minor crimes as part of an urgent push to make sure the government would not fall short of its criminal deportation targets.

America's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have made deporting convicted criminals a central feature of the Obama administration's immigration policy. 

The United Kingdom and Canada are doing the same, sending convicted criminals back to Trinidad and Tobago.
A CARICOM report dating to 2008 identified this first world strategy of causing serious problems for policy makers.

The report stated: "The increased deportation of Caribbean nationals who have been convicted of criminal offences in the UnitedStates, Canada and the United Kingdom has become a major source of concern to policy makers within the region. 

"In addition to the general social implications of a massive flow in return migration from developed to developing nations, the rapid pace of deportation of criminal offenders who are being involuntarily returned to their countries

of birth, poses severe challenges to prospects for the reintegration of such persons, and indeed, for national and regional security.

"Since 1995, each of the major deporting countries (the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom), has enacted legislation to facilitate the speedy removal of foreign-born criminal offenders from their societies. The new legislative framework has resulted in the increased deportation of nationals of CARICOM Member States, with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago bearing the brunt of the impact."

A report issued by the US Department of Homeland Security in December 2006, indicated that 1,593 Trinidad and Tobago nationals were among 36,000 criminals who were deported from the US to the Caribbean over a seven-year period. The crimes the deportees committed included homicides, kidnapping, robbery, grand larceny and fraud.

Local police linked violent crime in T&T to deportees. However, in an address at a meeting of Caricom national security ministers at the Hilton Trinidad on May 10, 2005, former Prime Minister Patrick Manning acknowledged that the problem had not been adequately addressed.

“We have not been able to prevent this activity of criminal deportation perhaps because we have not engaged our collective strength but also because we have not been able to provide empirical evidence as to the extent of its negative impact," he stated. 

In 2013 the problem remains the same, if not worse.

The problem that the T&T and other regional governments are facing is that while the first world nations are urging them to deal with criminal activities countries like the UK, Canada and the United States are breeding criminals and then sending them to the countries of their birth. The chart below provides the evidence.
Source: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
It is an unfair system since many of these people migrated as children and have been socialised by their respective environments; they are products of the countries that are now sending them to countries that have no 

JYOTI understands that there are more than one thousand recent criminals deported from the U.S. alone to Trinidad and Tobago and that a list of the names has been handed to the government.

This would provide the state and security forces with an opportunity to better track the activities of these individuals to determine if they are engaging in criminal activities, including murders, kidnappings and the drug trade.

It would be one small step in the war against criminals but a quantum leap in the right direction.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai