Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Letter: We need the soldiers to help maintain law and order

There's an incomplete Senate debate over lawfully using the Defence Force to save the country in its hour of greatest need. 

Violent criminals have been allowed the upper hand due to a combination of factors which can best be summarised as poor policing habits. My personal experience has been that urgent calls to 999 don't bring out the policemen from nearby Carenage, Chauaramas, or Four Roads police stations/posts—I'm told officers are dispatched from St James or Port of Spain. 

Invariably the criminals escape long before the strong arm of the law arrives. On the odd occasion 999 doesn't answer—yes, that happens—I would call one of these stations directly. 99 times out of 100 whoever answers would apologize and say they either have no vehicle or poor turnout at the time.

Considering the present situation, it's clear a two-pronged approach has to be taken if violent crime is to be brought under control—more police officers must be on the streets patrolling, systemic shortcomings in the TTPS have to be properly identified and fixed.

I am convinced the Attorney General and Minister of National Security are fully in agreement with my observations, for the idea of using the Defence Force to "oomph" the Police Service is undoubtedly sagacious and welcome. They indicate thinking outside the box—a point to which our new President alluded in his inauguration speech.

A recent Louis Homer article in the Express provides interesting insight into why the Defence Force is underutilised and good backup for my conviction. Homer referred to a book written by former Major Stewart Hylton Edwards which points out the then Prime Minister, Dr Williams, was aghast at the formation of our regiment—"Regiment? I never asked for a Regiment! I asked for a National Guard!", Dr Williams exclaimed, when told of its formation.

I wasn't in existence at the time, but some powerful forces must have overcome Dr Williams, as we did get a regiment instead of a National Guard. A National Guard is of more importance to any country, especially one as tiny as Trinidad and Tobago—such an apparatus would comfortably play the dual role of dealing with untenable miscreants within our borders and defending against external threats on the infrequent occasions such threats may arise. 

In any event, any hostile country wishing to attack us would first have to overcome an obdurate international barricade and barrage of diplomatic pressure, seeing Trinidad and Tobago has maintained friendly relations with nearly every single country on earth, if not all and provides much-needed petrochemical products to our northern neighbours. Permit me therefore to appeal to the Independent Senators.

Senators, the future well-being of my community and Trinidad and Tobago lies in your hands! The government has devised an excellent immediate-action plan to stem the criminal tide. The plan has already been approved by the elected representatives of the people. It has been brilliantly argued by the Attorney General!

Please, do not be puerile! Do not spit in our faces or bite the hands that feed you! It's in the law-abiding taxpayers' interest that you lend your support by approving the measure before you so TTPS could immediately be augmented by hundreds of properly-trained, raring-to-go men and women of the TTDF.

Lance Edison Tardieu, B.Sc, M.Sc, MBA | Point Cumana, Trinidad.

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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